Simply Outrageous

Via Cato@liberty, comes this really outrageous incident:

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office was
apologizing Monday after a weekend effort to help a research group led
to complaints about what appeared to be a DUI checkpoint - but wasn't....

Bob Enney said deputies assisted the Pacific Institute for Research and
Evaluation in stopping motorists at five sites along Colorado 119 for
surveys on any drug and alcohol use. Surveyors then asked the motorists
to voluntarily submit to tests of their breath, blood and saliva. At
least 200 drivers were tested, Enney said....

They were greeted by "youthful, college" surveyors dressed in jumpsuits and blue generic caps.


had a 10-year-old in the back who's tired, we tell them thanks but no
thanks, we have to get this child back home to bed," Sequeira said.

He said a worker persisted, saying that the researchers would assist in driving the family home if they needed assistance.


When the Sequeiras again demurred, a supervisor offered them a $100 money order.


say, 'No, thank you, we have to get our child home,"' Sequeira
recalled. "At this point, both clones start chortling at us and
ridiculing us."

The problem in this case is that many people don't take the time to even take a 5-minute survey over the phone, much less to pull over on the roadside and donate bodily fluids.  Every market researcher understands this problem, and tries to deal with it.  But the government has one tool in its bag that ordinary private firms do not have:  The coercive power of the government.  Whether they were tested or not, motorists who were in complete obedience to the law were forced to pull over by government law enforcement officials merely to increase their survey response rate.  This is such a typical government solution that I think most people are desensitized to it.


  1. Stephen Macklin:

    I bet all the people who went along and didn't hold out for the $100 are pissed right about now.

  2. ErikTheRed:

    Amazing. Shouldn't this be considered illegal detainment?

  3. Allen:

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to do a survey but I have a hard time believing it's legal for cops to pull over a car without any sort of probable cause.

    More so I'm troubled by the location. CO 119 is in the mountains. It's a lovely road to drive during the day. But at night I wouldn't care to be on it if I didn't need to be. Anytime law enforcement is pulling someone over they know it's a hazzard. Doing this at night on CO 119 makes it 10, 20, 100 times more so. It's one thing if they're doing it for legit reasons. But for some survey? They want people to risk getting hurt for their survey?

    And as mentioned, this is all done under the guise of law enforcement but then telling you it's voluntary. That is confusing, at least it would be for me. I know that a breathalyzer test is voluntary. I also know that if I refuse to take it I loose my license for a year (or whatever it is under CO law). I would like to know exactly how they're doing this to make it clear this is for academia and that by voluntary they mean "you can drive away right now without any consequences". I have a feeling they're not doing that.

  4. Jim Collins:

    So they are calling it a survey now. I wonder what the results would have been if someone "voluntarily" complied and they were over the legal limit? I also fail to see how the data collected at this "checkpoint" could possibly be of any use. The problem I have with surveys and polls are that most people will not give "true" answers. They will give the answers that they think they are supposed to give.