When police execute a drug bust, they usually get back some of the money they confiscate, but because of the current financial situation in the state, that could be impacted.
Traditionally, the money would be funneled back into the department, spending it on K9 crews and other drug investigations. Without it, police chiefs said they are going to be hampered.
In Plainville, for example, hundreds of dollars were held as evidence from a drug bust. A panel decides how much money will go back to the town’s police department and how much will go to the state and other drug programs.
Some police chiefs said they were told this week that money from drug busts could be greatly reduced in the future.
But right now, some departments said they aren’t seeing any of the money because of errors they made earlier in the filing process.
Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick Jr. said his department could lose $95,000.
“This was drug asset forfeiture money which is seized through drug arrests. It could be vehicles, cash. It's an opportunity for us not to use taxpayer money. We take the drug dealers money,” Riddick Jr. said.
As the state is tightening its strings in the face of a $930 million budget gap, they’re looking for any way to save, but some police chiefs said it’s coming at a cost of your safety.
“Training, equipment, overtime dealing with drug arrests or drug seizure,” Riddick Jr. said.
That isn’t the only program that is being toyed with. The Joint Narcotics Taskforce is sponsored by the Connecticut State Police—they ask cities and towns to offer officer support when they do investigations. In exchange for taking them off the streets of their towns, the state is supposed to pay the local department $2,000 per month per officer.
Brookfield Police Chief Robin Montgomery said his department hasn’t seen a dime since the beginning of the year.
Eyewitness News asked Connecticut State Police for a comment on the issue but has not yet heard back.
In the meantime, Riddick will continue to fight for the money he feels his department earned fair and square.
“We're not sure how we're going to overcome this at this time because everyone is looking to give back money, but this is a way or us to utilize it in a positive way, so it will have a significant impact on us,” Riddick Jr. said.
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