Pubdate: Thu, 16 Oct 2014
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2014 The Washington Post Company
Author: Mark R. Haas


As an ethics officer, I am stunned over the inherent conflicts of 
interest ignored by law enforcement agencies ["Seized assets fuel 
police spending," front page, Oct. 12]. It is unconscionable that the 
same individuals responsible for deciding what assets to seize and 
executing that seizure are then allowed to take advantage of its 
disposition. This creates an incentive to seize assets to fund 
activities not provided through the formal budgeting process, beyond 
interrupting narcotics operations or other illegal activities.

Aside from the repeated and increasingly public abuses of this 
practice, the lack of formal procedures for seizure and disposition 
is embarrassing to law enforcement, whose judgment we are asked to 
trust. Combined with repeated accusations by citizens that police 
issue traffic and parking tickets to make money, this practice comes 
close to the definition of robbery and further decreases trust in law 
enforcement. In addition to greater transparency over seizure, I hope 
that law enforcement agencies move swiftly to formally and publicly 
relinquish all use of seized property for their own activities.

Mark R. Haas, Gaithersburg
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom