“That’s pretty much a standard amount. We always like to have enough cash on hand depending on the cases our guys are working,” he said.
The fund is built up through narcotics-related seizures. Under state law, property related to drug crimes can be forfeited to the state, which then sells the property at public auction. The profits are distributed to police departments and other organizations to help treat substance abuse and investigate drug-related crimes.
According to a 2015 report from the Connecticut General Assembly’s Office of Legislative Research, the state collected $1.1 million in fiscal year 2013, almost $1.7 million in fiscal year 2014 and almost $2 million in fiscal year 2015. In 2014, the Record-Journal reported that Meriden used asset forfeiture funds to purchase uniforms, downtown surveillance cameras and bicycles. Southington purchased two police dogs the same year using its fund.
“If we’re requesting funds, it’s a good thing,” McKay said.
Controlled purchases are made if police receive information that drug sales are taking place at a particular location, McKay said. By conducting controlled purchases, police look to develop information on drug rings and apply for search or arrest warrants based on what they learn.
In 2015, Meriden received $11,481 in asset forfeiture funds, while Cheshire received $5,940, Southington $3,769 and Wallingford $1,359.
The federal Department of Justice also has an asset forfeiture program utilized by several agencies.