Syracuse Police Say Their Budget is a Secret

e8bffrank fowler has secrets bfytw 600x400 Syracuse Police Say Their Budget is a Secret

City councilors in Syracuse, New York summoned
the chief of police to a public hearing yesterday to shed a little
light on the department’s use of asset forfeiture to fund its
operations. They did not learn much.From the
Faced with a $1.3 million request from police to buy new
vehicles, councilors sought information about the off-budget cash,
cars or other assets that come to the police department after being
seized from [alleged! -ed.] criminals.
…Police Chief Frank Fowler repeatedly told the five councilors
at the meeting he would not publicly divulge information about
vehicles or equipment obtained through asset forfeiture
…The money is not accounted for in the city budget.
…“Most of this stuff is used in a covert fashion,’’ Fowler
said. “We don’t want the general public or the bad guys to know
what we possess.’’
Both New York and federal law allow local police to seize
property from suspects and keep most of the proceeds. However, the
law does not require the government to actually prove that a
property owner committed a crime—mere suspicion can
suffice. Unsurprisingly, that means police
often rip off innocent people. And they would rather not tell
anyone about it.
“I’m never going to talk about it in specific terms,’’ Fowler
said.… “But there are some good things that are taking place within
our community with asset forfeiture (funds), and they will
…Fowler insisted that discussing details publicly—even
divulging the number of asset-seizure cars—would put his officers
at risk.
That is rank nonsense, and Fowler knows it. A simple accounting
of forfeiture revenues would not jeopardize officer safety in the
slightest. Or perhaps Fowler thinks that this publicly
available spreadsheet somehow puts police in the District of
Columbia in imminent danger.Sadly, it doesn’t appear city councilors called the meeting to
explore ways to protect innocent people from forfeiture. Rather,
they just wanted to know if maybe they could redirect a little of
the money to the city’s general fund.Good luck with that.For more Reason coverage of asset forfeiture abuse,
here and

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Syracuse Police Say Their Budget is a Secret

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