Nationally, asset forfeiture laws, in conjunction with the drug war, have been extremely profitable to law enforcement, to the extent that many units depend on a certain level of seizures to achieve their annual budgetary goals.
This means that law enforcement is sometimes put in the position of making decisions based on profit motive, rather than protecting and serving.
In Utah, citizens decided through initiative B (AKA the UFPA, and supported by 70% of the voters) that this was a conflict of interest. According to Deseret Morning News:
Before UFPA, forfeiture proceeds went back to police departments to fund equipment, training and other costs.æ Since the measure, that money was redirected through the state treasurer’s office for deposit in the Uniform School Fund.æ
Very little money has actually come to the state, however, because law enforcement either halted it or partnered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration for federal investigation and prosecution.
So law enforcement basically responded to the citizens with “If we can’t have it, we’re not going to let education have it either.”
Well now Senator Chris Buttars has introduced SB175, a bill to reverse many of the initiative provisions and put profits back in the hands of law enforcement.