Miami Beach Police Are Getting Rid of Memorial Day DUI Checkpoints

Miami Beach police have finalized their plans for controlling crowds and traffic on Memorial Day weekend, with one major change: This year, cars coming onto the Beach won't be subject to a DUI checkpoint.

Officer Ernesto Rodriguez, the department's spokesman, said the checkpoint, which has been used for several years, just wasn't working out.

"Doing the checkpoints ties up a lot of resources and requires assistance from other agencies," he said.

That doesn't mean it's a free-for-all for drunk drivers, however. Police will be doing a "roving patrol," meaning officers will be scattered throughout the city to make sure no one is driving while impaired. Rodriguez encouraged visitors to find a sober driver, especially now that ridesharing services like Uber have been legalized.

"Not that there was before, but now there's really no excuse," he said.

While MBPD has abandoned its checkpoint, the city of Miami will have its own DUI checkpoint for westbound drivers near Jungle Island on Thursday, May 26, according to Rodriguez. 

The rest of the plan for Memorial Day weekend, known informally as Urban Beach Week, is pretty much the same as it's been for the last several years: cops will be using automatic license plate readers to monitor drivers with suspended licenses or outstanding warrants, Ocean Drive will be open to pedestrians only, and officers will set up a traffic loop that makes all of Collins Avenue northbound and all of Washington Avenue southbound. (If you're worried about getting around that weekend, you can check here for more details on the traffic plan.)

Police will also be enforcing bans on glass containers and Styrofoam on the beach.

"We want you to come out and have a good time, but be responsible and respect our beaches," Rodriguez said. 

The city is hosting a community meeting at City Hall tonight, May 17, starting at 6 p.m., to answer any questions residents have before the holiday weekend. 
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Jessica Lipscomb is the former news editor of Miami New Times.