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NOPD Calls DWI Checkpoint Facebook Page 'Irresponsible'

NEW ORLEANS --

A newly-created DWI checkpoint page has started a buzz among locals and authorities.

The New Orleans Police Department said the DWI checkpoint page on Facebook was created June 11 and in just days, more than 7,000 people "like" the page, including Mary Orcino.

"I don't generally have to watch where I go because I don't like to drink and drive, but you never know," said Orcino.

The user-generated page asks people to reveal specific locations of DWI checkpoints.

"They're definitely going to drinking less just because they're aware of that kind of activity going around in the city," said Brendan Turner, a longtime bartender at Lucy's Retired Surfer's Bar.

Turner said he believes police presence serves as a deterrent.

"If you're going to drink excessively, you're going to do it no matter what," said resident Katy Tackett.

By law, police have to inform the public within 24 hours of setting up a checkpoint. The neighborhood is identified, but not the exact street location.

NOPD Supt. Ronal Serpas said helping drunk drivers avoid checkpoints will put the public at risk.

"Anyone who would be so irresponsible as to try to help drunk drivers avoid DWI checkpoints is not only encouraging reckless driving, but is also putting those drivers, their passengers and the general public at risk," Serpas said.

The page follows a long line of controversy regarding DUI checkpoint apps on smartphones, which some lawmakers have been trying to ban for months.

"I wouldn't say it would make me drink more or less. I'll just be aware not to go that way," said resident Corey Prout.

So far, both Apple and Research in Motion have pulled DUI checkpoint apps from their stores at the request of Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey and Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico.

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