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To The BATmobile!
NOPD Unveils DWI Checkpoint Tool, Live-Blogged
With the segways, bikes, computer programs and other crimefighting tools the New Orleans police have received in recent months, they appeared to be as equipped with the tools of effective crimefighting. However, as Commissioner Gordon could tell you, no cop battling nefarious forces beyond their control is complete without a secret weapon.
Today, from the NOPD's own bat cave, Superintendent Ronal Serpas is revealing the Department's "BATmobile" to combat drunk driving. We're checking out all the bells and whistles and updating it live.
2:40 That's all for us. We were informed earlier that there's a DWI checkpoint somewhere downtown tonight, so use the bat sense when ordering that fourth drink. In the meantime, we're left to speculate: What will Superitendent Serpas' next toy be? Will the Department accrue rocket packs, or will it be light sabers? Tune in next time, same NoDef time, same NoDef channel.
2:35 That's a wrap for the press conference. But before it was time to be blindfolded and lulled to sleep with a potent elixir, we got a peak inside the $350,000 vehicle itself. The waiting room of the BATmobile was equipped with large, gray cloth couches, tables and flat screen TVs. A long corridor lead to the testing area, reminding us of a giant Winnebago.
2:30 Police aren't releasing the exact locations of the DWI checkpoints to which the BATmobile will be dispatched. Instead, they'll send out missives indicating they will be Uptown or downtown. No word yet on how they feel about the idea of shining a giant light into the sky that depicts a hand grenade cup.
2:28 In this heat, the cops want to move people as fast as possible, indicating the cops see no need to spend a lot of time shouting things like "Holy uncanny photographic mental processes!"
2:25 Now we get the details from an NOPD DWI specialist on field tests. The tests consist of a walk-and-turn, eye test, and to stand on one leg. Even with this new addition, the NOPD still prefers performing the tests outside, so they can walk, and in case subjects vomit. That's one consideration Alfred never had to make. If they fail the tests, however, the subjects will be brought inside the BATmobile for breath and urine testing. The vehicle doesn't contain equipment for blood testing. Those that fail the breath and urine tests will be transported by cop cars waiting on standby at the BATmobile. So much for a stealth presence.
2:20 Howard returns with a message to criminals. "We have a large cameras like on top of media vans, and video and audio recording inside the vehicle. So expect to see your face on a laptop in court," he says.
2:15 Serpas takes the floor and reminds us like any father would that there's no need to drive drunk. Always get a designated driver, he says. Serpas adds some stats: DUI arrests are up 39%. Drunk drivers is what should make you shake in your boots," he says.
2:10 "We're going to get a lot of use out of this," Howard says. In fact, they'll use it tonight, but they won't say where. Education is also a purpose: They'll let students "look and admire it," and let them know how they could end up in it.
2:05 As the conference begins, Officer Howard of the Department's traffic division reveals what theBATmobile actually is: "a mobile breath alcohol testing unit," designed to take drunk drivers off the streets.
1:58 As the proceedings are about to get underway, NOPD Deputy Supt. Marlon Defillo is overheard saying the behemoth looks like a party bus with all of the flashing lights.
1:55 We were told in advance that the BATmobile is 38' long X 12' wide, and was purchased with funds from a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. The vehicle was specially designed for NOPD specifications, and includes enough room for one person to take a BAC test, and four others to wait.
1:50 The NOPD's bat cave is a large warehouse located on Tchoupitoulas St. While there is no sign of poles or an adjoining mansion, there is a gym with weights and a boxing ring. The BATmobile sits in the center of the room, its lights flashing. It is surrounded by NOPD speedboats, trailers and SUVs. Nice toys.
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