Highway Drug Interdiction

People driving on US Highway 287 by the Huntington Lane exit Wednesday morning were in for a big surprise. The Wichita Falls Police Department, the Wichita County Sheriff's Office and the Texas Department of Public Safety teamed up to conduct a highway drug interdiction in that area.

Law enforcement placed a flashing sign that read "Last Exit Before Drug Check Point."

"It's one of those things where the more agencies that get involved, the better communication you have with the other agencies. That's the bottom line. Everybody works together and we get the best results" said Wichita County Sheriff David Duke.

But some people who avoided the phony drug stop and by exiting the highway were caught off guard by undercover officers. Texomans questioned if this was legal. Wichita County Chief Public Defender James Rasmussen said, this is in fact legal.

"As a general rule, if they follow the proper procedures which have been laid down, there's no problem with that," said Rasmussen.

Law enforcement has the right to pull drivers over if they are given any reason to be suspicious or if drivers committed a traffic violation.

"The circumstances are the key to it all because that's everything it's based upon. If you're a law enforcement officer and you're acting to a legitimate circumstance that leads you to believe a crime has occurred, then you need to follow up on it," said Rasmussen.

These interdictions may not settle too well with some people, but Rasmussen advises drivers to always cooperate with officers when encountering these situations.

"If you're stopped, you need to cooperate. But you also need to be alert to if what you're being asked is reasonable or not. If anything improper happens, follow up on it by notifying the administrative authorities of the agencies," he said.

Interdictions are only illegal if the law enforcement agencies act on racial profiling or violate their established protocol.

Cynthia Kobayashi, Newschannel Six.