Pubdate: Wed, 21 May 2003
Source: Big Sandy News, The (KY)
Copyright: 2003 The Big Sandy News
Author: Robert Merkin
Bookmark: (Asset Forfeiture)


If you want lots of cash to still be there when you need it again, any fool 
knows there's only one place to store it: In a safe deposit box in a bank, 
with the bank requiring anyone who opens the box to identify himself and 
sign a log. ("Cops still can't find seized cash," 15 May.)
If the police have been "storing" confiscated cash somewhere and somehow in 
police headquarters, the conveniently deniable wink-wink message from the 
top has always been clear: Confiscated cash is a naughty little unofficial 
slush fund for the personal use of police officers.
The slush fund was working just fine, and exactly as intended, until an 
uncooperative judge who didn't understand the system ordered the police to 
give some of the cash back.
Now comes a year of "We're conducting a thorough investigation" and "I 
can't imagine how this could have happened" and "The K-9 dog ate our cash." 
At the end of the entertaining year, no one will be charged with any crime, 
and no one will lose his job in The Case of the Missing Cash.
When Frankfort passed laws to finance police agencies with confiscated 
cash, everyone knowingly begged for this to happen. These laws also pervert 
the fundamental "To Protect and Serve" mission of police, and turn police 
into armed robbers with badges. Police stop investigating rapists, because 
rapists don't wander around with $5,000 in cash which would be best spent 
on a police officer's above-ground backyard swimming pool - and they 
concentrate exclusively on shooting-fish-in-a-barrel Fat Wallet crimes.
Nobody needs Columbo or Sherlock Holmes to solve The Case of the Missing 
Cash. But any reader who wants to take a stab at the solution can find all 
the miserable evidence in Karen Dillon's award-winning Kansas City Star 
series, "To Protect and Collect," archived at Except for the part where the 
police had to account for their cash, this was no fluke. This is how 
confiscation was always intended to work.

Robert Merkin
Northampton MA
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom