Civil Liberties

Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office Used Asset Forfeiture Funds to Buy Flat-Screen TVs, Segways, Training From Disney


Ever wonder exactly what local law enforcement agencies do with all the money they seize under federal and local asset forfeiture laws? The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office has used it to buy:

…workout equipment for Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.'s command staff, customer training for 50 employees through a Disney program and a mounted patrol unit, a county audit released Friday shows.

The tab for the workout gear came to $11,400; the Disney Destinations training cost $24,900; and more than $77,000 went for horse rental, boarding and transport for the sheriff's mounted patrol. A $43,000 Dodge Ram pickup bought in 2008 to haul the horses was the largest portion of the mounted patrol spending from the fund, the report says.

The funds also have paid for a wide assort ment of vehicles and watercraft, uniforms and equipment, including $8,200 for nine flat-screen televisions for top sheriff command staff and $12,340 for "high performance metal detectors" to screen deputies and other sheriff's employees before meetings with Clarke for disciplinary hearings, the report says.

The Institute for Justice dug through the audit, and notes the department also bought two Segways at a cost of $14,500. The audit found that while "none of the spending violated federal rules governing asset forfeiture money…it did run afoul of county procurement rules."

Via Americans for Forfeiture Reform.