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Surprise: Law enforcement doesn’t want to lose their power to seize your assets

canadian county sheriff

Last week, State Senator Kyle Lovelace Loveless filed the Personal Asset Protection Act (SB 838). The bill, which will be examined in the 2016 legislative session and actually seems to make sense, has broad bipartisan support and would prohibit law enforcement from seizing cash, vehicles and other property used or gained from the commission of a crime without any charges being filed. Cool, huh?!

Well, don't tell that to the Canadian County Sheriff. He has a "War on Drugs" to lose...


A new bill is coming under fire from some local sheriff’s departments.

Critics say the bill would cripple drug fighting programs across the state.

Over the years, K9 officers in Canadian County have seized millions of dollars in illegal drugs along I-40.

In turn, the sheriff’s office has used money recovered from those busts to help fund numerous public safety programs...

Undersheriff West has a good point. If his department is not able to seize assets from innocent people they suspect committed a crime, how will they fund those valuable public safety programs? You know, the really good ones like this...

MRAP canadian county 2
MRAP canadian county

I grabbed those photos from a Mustang Times article titled "Sheriff’s Office Goes Big." It flaunts the Canadian County Sheriff's new militarization... errrr... "public safety" program. You should go read it. It will make you feel so very safe.

Back to the KFOR story...

“This is without a doubt the single worst, most damning piece of legislation I have seen for drug enforcement,” said Sheriff Randall Edwards. “This bill, if passed, will set the war on drugs back twenty years and will literally allow drug traffic to go unchecked in Oklahoma, the drug dealers and cartels will love it!”

Actually, know what the drug dealers and cartels love? That would be the illegal black market for drugs our society has created. It gives them the opportunity to rake in billions of dollars a year in untaxed revenue by selling a product people want to buy. Instead of fighting an unwinnable war, what if we simply legalized some of those drugs, regulated the market, and then used the tax revenue to invest in programs to treat addiction for those who need it? If we did that, the cartels would lose money and power, and the Sheriff's department would no longer need a bunch of money to buy military vehicles for public safety. It's a win-win!

Well, unless you make a living fighting a war that you'll never win...

The sheriff said without these funds, his department and many others would not be able to afford to work drug interdiction.

“The State has not paid a penny of my drug interdiction program, I don’t know why they or anyone else in their right mind would think the state would be entitled to my agencies proceeds from these seizures,” Sheriff Edwards said.

“The proceeds Kyle Loveless is proposing to take, funds close to half of my cash funds, funds that support all my public safety programs, ranging from investigating on-line child sexual predators, to supporting nine K-9 Units and four full time drug interdiction units."

"These drug funds also account for a large part of my agency’s equipment, cars, radars, cameras and a multitude of other public safety equipment that Sheriffs will no longer be able to buy, as well as the jobs that are paid for and funded through these cash funds, I just paid for two motorcycles to work traffic control in school zones, paid entirely with seized drug money.”

I will say this. If there was a nice racket set up that gave me the power to seize, keep and spend the assets of anyone I suspected of committing a crime, and then someone tried to take that power away from me, I'd be pissed off, too.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what comes of this legislation. The law enforcement lobby is a powerful one. They're excellent at using the media (see mentions about sex predators and school zones in story above) to exploit our fears, and will use their powerful lobby and legions of vocal "tough on crime" supporters to put pressure on lawmakers. When you combine that with this being common sense, bipartisan legislation, I expect it will fail... just like the "War on Drugs."

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