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Post names of suspected drunk drivers on police website? Huntington Beach considers idea

Huntington Beach police are considering a new -- and high public -- way to deal with drunk drivers.

Hoping to crackdown in DUI cases in Surf City, the Police Department is considering a plan to post the names of those arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on its website.


"DUIs are a public safety issue," said police Lt. Russell Reinhart. "Public awareness of the problem, and scope of the problem, is one way of addressing any public safety concern."

The department is considering posting the names, which are public record, online, not to embarrass people, but to send a message that Huntington is enforcing DUIs, he said.

"It's not a wall of shame we're looking to put up," Reinhart said.

For the last three years, on average, the department has made 1,700 DUI arrests a year.


Police submitted a report this month to the City Council identifying drinking and driving as a "significant problem" in Huntington Beach and detailed proposed strategies for preventing and reducing the crime.

Tactics already include notifying establishments where those arrested for DUI had their last drink, DUI checkpoints and participating in Every 15 Minutes programs in schools. And police are asking the city to fund a third motorcycle officer for its DUI enforcement team.

Posting offenders' names online would take enforcement into the digital age. Department officials did not know how many other Orange County cities, if any, posted suspected offenders' names online.

The Police Department considered publishing the names of those arrested for DUI after the Huntington Beach Independent stopped publishing a weekly DUI list in December, according to the city report. The Independent decided to ax the standing feature after a change in editorial policy.

Huntington's DUI rate was the third-highest for Orange County cities with similar populations in 2008, according to the report.

"We have a murder once every couple of years in Huntington Beach, but we have a dozen or so people killed in alcohol-related crashes every year," Reinhart said.

Read the full story here.

-- Britney Barnes

Comments () | Archives (37)

You post the names of people 'suspected' of something and you are gonna end up in court. Suspicion is not a conviction and until there is a conviction, the authorities have no right to pillory any citizen.

I live in Connecticut and they post them in the paper. Usually Hispanics with no license or insurance.

Why not have the city fund a free shuttle or taxi service. It could be paid from DUI ticket funds, or perhaps a cabbi tax. An extra $.25 a drink at the bar or restaurant to fund getting these potentially dangerous drivers off of the street. I love going down to Main street and hitting the bars, but I always make sure I have a place that I can walk to, to crash for the night.

No no no and NO! are you kidding me. If you do that don't you realize that every HR dept. around will look to see if their workers are there and then end up laying them off? Now you are going to be costing them their jobs, and DUI means they have to pay and go to the DUI school for a year. So them you won't get money because they can't go and pay. This is some idiot that thinks they can solve problems by putting DUI people up on a site to YES embarrass them. Why else. If you want to show your doing your job then you can simply say how many people were arrested or put ages and sex but not their name. I think you will only be hurting your city and people that deserve another chance if they didn't kill someone. Keep catching them though, that is a good thing

Just make them wear pink underwear!

Why dont we post names of those people who get got for shoplifting also. Yet a city that makes so much money of sales tax of alcohol sales and the number of bars and nightclubs its ironic you have so many drunk drivers.

Do it!! The city I originally grew up in used to post a daily blotter of arrests with name, address and offense of the arrestee! Nothing like being shamed straight!

They should also post the names of men picked up trying to solicit prostitutes.

Sure, okay. Can we also post the names of the sheisty police officers of the HBPD as well?

What happened to innocent until PROVEN guilty? I am fine with posting convicted folks online, but this makes the police judge and jury, affects the suspects defense, and quite possibly leaves innocent people open to public ridicule. Just because a person gets pulled over by an HB police doesn't mean they should have their name posted online as a criminal preventing them from getting jobs, or heck even dates these days.

Plus HB is one of the most corrupt PDs in the south land... maybe we should post all their info on a site: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/05/the-ex-girlfriend-of-a-former-huntington-beach-police-officer-claims-in--a-lawsuit-that-police-officials-covered-up-allegatio.html

"Hoping to crackdown in DUI cases in Surf City, the Police Department is considering a plan to post the names of those arrested on suspicion of drunk driving on its website."

One of the basic tenets of our legal system is (or at least used to be) that someone is innocent until proven guilty. When someone is "arrested on suspicion of drunk driving", nothing has been proven.

This just is wrong. The harm from the stigma attached to being "arrested on suspicion of drunk driving" is unwarrented.

(If the names of those convicted were posted, that would be a different story...)

Why not so we can all see who the drunks are. Is Jerry Patterson one of them?

Great idea, just make sure you practice due diligence and post the judges, cops and fireman that are dui drivers too. only fair, but wait, life is not fair, so you probably will not post....my two cents

Are they serious? It's just wrong. Because this crime, like some others, the majority of people find reprehensible, they will feel this is ok to do this. But where will it stop? Why not start posting all crimes? Or brand them with a scarlet letter.

There is one simple answer to the problem of drunk driving: breathalyzer ignition locks standard on all new cars. California just passed a law effective July 1, 2010 that requires anyone arrested for drunk driving in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento county to install the ignition locks in order to have their license suspension revoked.

If every car sold in America required an ignition interlock device the price of this technology would drop dramatically. More importantly the number of people killed and injured by drunk drivers would drop. Within 10 to 20 years, as the older cars without interlock devices enter the junkyard the number of drunk driver arrests would be minimal.

There is a simple answer to the problem of people driving while under the influence of alcohol: have the car decide your alcohol intake!!!

I agree that only those convicted of DUI/DWI should be listed. You don't want to get someone on the list that had low blood sugar or some medical ailment confused with the low life drunk drivers.

They already do this in the Huntington Beach Independent....?

A public safety issue? Then why not post all of the public safety issues. Like those that jaywalk, or those that ride a skateboard in an area designated no skateboarding. How about those that ran a red light, made and illegal turn or were speeding?

Why are you just choosing one public safety issue when there are so many?

Good idea, for some it would be a good deterrent. I think other cities should follow suit.

Let's start judging everyone. Let's just post names of people for everything, from drug possession to theft.Why don't we just start giving people scarlet letters, for everything we think is a reprehensible act? Crazy!

Sounds good. I'm fine with the posting of those "suspected" of drunk driving as long as they also post the names of police officers who have pending allegations of misconduct filed against them by citizens. I could be wrong, but I'd guess the police union would say it violates the due process of the officers and could hurt their reputations. Of course it wouldn't be a "wall of shame" for the officers or would it be intended to embarrass them. It would just send the message to the public that Huntington Beach expects its officers to conduct themselves professionally at all times.

I'm guessing most of 'em will be overpaid civil service employees of small municipalities in Los Angeles County. Like Bell.

Why not post the names of all the police officers who have complaints filed against them?

What about names of all city employees under investigation?

Doesn't sound so great when we turn the table on the authoritarians.

I have a better suggestion: post the names of men arrested at Los Angeles' Griffith Park for soliciting sex from undercover LAPD officers. Keep these perverts out of our parks, and shame them at their places of employment.

Swimming in the ocean is dangerous. Should we post names of surfers and swimmers too. If they drown we lose their tax money. That is bad for society right? Bunch of nannies.

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