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Huntington Beach may try to shame suspected drunk drivers on Facebook

Huntington Beach is considering a new tactic against drunk driving: public shaming on Facebook.

After the idea was suggested Monday at a City Council meeting, the city's Police Department is looking into posting the names of suspected drunk drivers on Facebook, said Lt. Russell Reinhart.

Councilman Devin Dwyer asked police if they could post the names of people arrested for drunk driving on the city's Facebook page, because the local newspaper has stopped publishing the listings.

"I didn't think public shaming for driving under the influence was such a bad idea," Dwyer said. "I would use any tool necessary to bring down the numbers of drunk drivers."

The idea is part of an aggressive anti-drunk-driving initiative by the city that calls for more officers focusing on DUI cases, posting of the names of people arrested for drunk driving on the city website, and letters to bars when one of their patrons is arrested for driving under the influence.

A July report by the city said there is "a significant DUI problem in Huntington Beach," citing 274 alcohol-related collisions and 1,687 drunk-driving arrests last year -- one of the highest rates statewide for a city its size.

Reinhart said the Police Department began looking for a new way to broadcast drunk-driving arrests after the Huntington Beach Independent, a community newspaper published by The Times, stopped running listings of the arrests.

"It's public information," he said. "Anybody could go to the counter, get it and put it on their own Web page."

The Facebook proposal will be reviewed by City Atty. Jennifer McGrath to make sure there are no legal barriers, Reinhart said.

McGrath, who was first elected city attorney in 2002, has herself pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and paid a fine after being stopped in 2005 for driving on the wrong side of Main Street, not far from City Hall.


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Comments () | Archives (141)

Seems like a good idea for those having been convicted, but some of those arrested might be innocent. (Innocent until proven guilty) Why shame an innocent person?

Yet another reason to break yourself of the Facebook habit. Driving under the influence is bad, too.

Good idea and since that is legal Im sure the city and the police union will not object to posting the names and pictures of all the HB officers who have been accused of wrongdoing but not yet convicted of anything. HB the only city in the US where the mayors have been indicted 3 times, including a few convictions. Where they took state money to widen/ improve PCH but put in parking spaces and meters instead, until the state told them they can not collect parking money from a state highway they receive state money to maintain... tsk tsk..

The more negative enrgy you put out the more you draw back to yourself.......

Doesn't the concept of cruel and unusual punishment resound in anyone's mind? Rather than shame the driver, double those efforts to prevent them from happening in the first place. Deal with the bars, enforce the concept of the dram shop laws/ liability to PREVENT these crimes from occurring. Use community organizations like MADD to educate people of the dangers of driving intoxicated. Promote better taxi service in the city to allow the inebriated a safe way home. Shaming...this is the best they can up with?

Uh, Maybe they are sitting around the corner targeting drivers too... Huntington Beach might need the revenue... I use to live there and although I've never gotten drunk driving tickets since I don't drive and drive I remember how the police were there...

And they shall be shamed on the facebook.

Good! They should also do sex offenders and dead beat dads.

Turnabout is fair play... Let's post things about the police in Huntington Beach too... Lame idea since their kids are on there too...

"The Facebook proposal will be reviewed by City Atty. Jennifer McGrath to make sure there are no legal barriers, Reinhart said.
McGrath, who was first elected city attorney in 2002, has herself pleaded guilty to driving under the influence and paid a fine after being stopped in 2005 for driving on the wrong side of Main Street, not far from City Hall."


Also, the reason they have so many DUI arrests is because they have nothing better to do. They pride themselves on that crap. There is an even amount of drunk drivers everywhere, they just have more important stuff to take care of in other cities.

Better idea... Why not post them on the police website so anyone could grab the info and post it themselves on facebook... You post it that makes you an untrusted public servant... It's like bullying people in front of maybe their kids?

If the city want's to use facebook to bring down the dui rate fine. But if it's ok to post the record of the dui people, then post other offenders. I say we start with shoplifters, they add cost to price I pay at stores. Then lets add speeders, they put our children at risk. Heck lets just post every Law breakers record and if you want to know anything about any of them you can find it a HB facebook.

Hmm... May want to check with Facebooks Terms of service.
It specifically states any profile that defames, badgers, insults anyone can and will be removed.
so it will be a short lived profile if they do use it...
How about starting their own web page?

Great idea. But even more important is to provide a public weblink to a database for local Sexual Offenders. That's public information already, so no legal barriers there.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Do they really believe that a person, out drinking, will stop to consider whether they might be posted on Facebook for DUI?

Even more disturbing would be the bottom-feeders that dwell upon the page, HOPING to find someone they know to pass judgment upon them.

Completely disgusted by the direction our society continues to "slide down into."

I do not condone drunk-driving, have never had such a conviction, but also feel that the ramifications of public exposure can be extremely detrimental to a person's ability to overcome this type of event.

i sued HB for their police dog scratching my car during an illeagal search. Their police are belligerant and crude. Vulgar language.

Not so sure about this. First, they'd better stick to only posting people CONVICTED of drunk driving, otherwise they're posting the images of innocent people. Lawsuit anyone? Second, I am not so sure it would intimidate people. Perhaps the ones who were worried about their public image, but for others I imagine it turning into some kind of subversive honor to have made the list.

modern day public stoning?

why would it be okay to "shame" the potentially innocent? I smell some libel lawsuits in their future.

There are some plaintiffs attorneys in the LA area who are no doubt hoping and wishing and praying this goes through. Wonder if the cost of defending/paying out lawsuits will be worth whatever small benefit this policy might provide. And we wonder why California has budget issues, with sterling ideas like this.

I support anything to try to stop drunk driving so i say do it good job

I almost wonder about the caliber of city attorneys if they can't find the obvious legal flaws in trying to publicly humiliate people on Facebook.

But as has been suggested, it is against the law, as I understand it, to publish personal information of police officers. . . it is protected information. Normally when I make such a claim I like to cite Penal Code, but it is just too late at night for me to find and cite it. . . Hopefully someone will come along and help me out here.

But the way I see it, turnabout is fair-play. If they want to humiliate us, then we have every right to try and humiliate them.

Drinking and driving is never a good idea no matter whether you've had only 1 drink. You can be mentally incapacitated even with one drink. Read Afraid To Sleep for more information.

isn't this the city where the cops takes away bicycles from riders if they aren't registered (the cyclists), as a way to discourage bike riding? because cyclists annoy drivers...

so even if you don't live in the city, if you ride a bike into the city, they can just take your bicycle away from you.

Arrest information is public record, so really there is nothing wrong with publishing it. However, I do think it is in bad taste. DUI enforcement is very strict in Huntington Beach, and in my opinion, the penalty exceeds what is reasonable. The fact is that this public shaming does nothing to reduce the number of drunk drivers. DUI arrests are revenue producers, for the police, for the county, for the state, for MADD, and for lawyers. Imagine of all that money was directed towards education, or towards subsidized taxis, or towards better public transportation. That might actually reduce drunk driving.

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