Fort Worth police chief apologizes for officers’ participation in highway safety survey

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Bill Miller

FORT WORTH — Police Chief Jeffrey Halstead apologized Wednesday for the participation of off-duty officers in a federal highway safety survey last week that led to complaints from motorists who believed they were being compelled to pull over to give breath samples, saliva swabs or blood draws.

The National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers was conducted Friday morning on North Beach Street near Western Center Boulevard.

Uniformed but off-duty Fort Worth officers directed randomly selected motorists into a parking lot where people in lab coats asked for samples that would be used to help determine the prevalence of alcohol and drug use by drivers.

According to protocols provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency conducting the survey, motorists were informed that the survey was voluntary and that they would be paid to participate.

But some people objected.

“I can see a [DWI] check or a random stop for insurance/registration,” said an email writer to the Star-Telegram. “But to stop drivers for no apparent reason other than to complete a survey seems excessive.”

Halstead’s statement confirmed that off-duty officers participated and he acknowledged that the survey caused public “frustration.”

“I agree with our citizens concerns and I apologize for our participation,” Halstead stated. “Any future Federal survey of this nature, which jeopardizes the public’s trust, will not be approved for the use of Fort Worth police.”

Fort Worth police officers are allowed to work off-duty jobs in uniform if they adhere to rules set out in the department’s “general orders.” Police administrators are reviewing whether the rules were followed when officers were approved to work off-duty on the survey, Halstead said.

The review is important, he said, “not only to ensure that our policies and procedures were followed, but also to ensure that any off-duty job is in the absolute best interest of our citizens.”

The NHTSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, on Wednesday issued a statement declaring that the survey has been conducted four times since the early 1970s at about 10-year intervals, the most recent being 2007.

“Each year, close to 10,000 people die in drunk driving crashes,” according to the statement. “Findings from this survey will be used to maximize the impact of policy development, education campaigns, law enforcement efforts and other activities aimed at reducing this problem.”

In 2007, the agency “recruited” more than 9,000 drivers in various cities, including Dallas, to participate in the survey, according to information from the agency. The 2007 survey methodology is described in a 196-page report.

For example “a law enforcement officer directed a randomly selected driver into the research site,” according to the report. From there, the drivers were directed to one of five “research bays,” marked by orange traffic cones, where consent to participate was requested. The breath samples, saliva swabs and blood draws followed. Those who agreed were paid $10-$50.

The Star-Telegram submitted questions to Fort Worth police that included asking how officers conducted themselves, how they chose which cars to pull over and what happened if a driver ignored the officers. Also, what happened if drugs or open containers of alcohol were seen in the vehicle?

The questions are “under review,” a police spokesman replied.


  1. This is odd. Now they’re saying that “people believed” they were being corraled for drug testing. I could almost be persuaded to believe the chief, but then their lies went way over the top when they claimed they were paying the people to submit to swabbing, groping, buttrape, or whatever else they were actually doing.

    The claim about paying the victims set off my BS alarm. The chief would have done a better job of lying about this if the feds had just exercised a little restraint. But no. It got good to them and they went overboard. My teenage daughter does the same thing sometimes.

    I guess we’ll never know the truth now.

  2. Earl Sampson has been stopped and questioned by Miami Gardens police 258 times in four years.

    He’s been searched more than 100 times. And arrested and jailed 56 times.

    Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.

    Almost every citation was issued at the same place: the 207 Quickstop, a convenience store on 207th Street in Miami Gardens.

    Miami Gardens police have arrested Sampson 62 times for one offense: trespassing.

    But Sampson isn’t loitering. He works as a clerk at the Quickstop.

    So how can he be trespassing when he works there?

    5 videos catching cops in the act

    CEO: When we go to the White House, we talk to people we wouldn’t hire. Having to deal with Valerie Jarrett in the White House is like dealing with a company where the CEO has put his sister in charge of marketing.

    TPP is the exact opposite of free trade

  3. “I can see a [DWI] check or a random stop for insurance/registration,” said an email ….

    What utter bullshit! Those are the words of a slave who has been conditioned to accept a certain amount of abuse and yet, absurdly enough, finds when it is ratcheted up to all of a sudden be wrong.

  4. Police, either in uniform, on duty or otherwise, have no unfettered right to pull people over for “checks” of any kind. Only if there’s an obvious danger. Once you do pull over for them though, you give up your common law right to travel freely without harassment.

    One thing I do agree with though (to an extent) are the booze stops. However, even those can’t prove the driver/traveller WILL have a bingle before getting to their destination, which is my extent btw.


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