Police use bad money for good

Police in Connecticut use money forfeited by convicted felons to buy equipment, police dogs, undercover vehicles, technology and more.

For local police departments, the money makes it possible to fund training programs, make technology improvements and buy equipment and vehicles not regularly budgeted.

"We use our funding extensively to assist law enforcement, and have done a variety of improvements, including developing the training room downstairs in our station," said Lt. William Scribner of the New Milford Police Department.

Recently, New Milford purchased a 2015 Ford F150 pickup truck installed with emergency equipment for $37,000, through asset forfeiture funding.

The truck will be used by the patrol and investigative services divisions for crash team investigation, towing of the dive team boat, cone trailer and car-safety seat trailer.

The vehicle is not authorized for use on routine patrol or side duty, Scribner said.

This funding comes directly to local police departments from the state as dispersal from the Drug Asset Forfeiture Account in the general fund. The account is funded with money obtained through the public auction of property seized in relations to the illegal sale or exchange of controlled substances or money laundering.

While 70 percent of money in the account is allocated to the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and local police departments, 15 percent is used for drug education and the balance goes to the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for substance abuse treatment and education.

State statistics from calendar year 2013 show New Milford police received just over $80,000.

NMPD used the 2013 funds for police boat and equipment, mobile command post, video monitoring equipment, police bike and K-9 equipment, narcotic testing supplies and photography equipment.

stuz@newstimes.com; 203-731-3352