Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos released his audit of the $37 million Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) Asset Forfeiture Fund which found that monies were expended in accordance with government guidelines. Two minor recording discrepancies were found with 2011 and 2012 reports filed with federal agencies and the asset forfeiture inventory did not maintain the exact location of certain assets. The audit period was 2011 through 2014. “The Asset Forfeiture Fund is an important tool and source of extra funds for our police department to more effectively fight crime and keep our communities safe,” said Comptroller Maragos. “I am glad that the audit team found this $37 million fund has not been abused and consequently is providing $25 million towards building a new police academy.”
The Nassau County Police Department Asset Forfeiture & Intelligence Unit assists state and federal agencies in criminal investigations, and in turn, is given a portion of assets seized as a result of the investigation to be used in efforts to improve policing and support the community. According to the NCPD’s Asset Forfeiture & Intelligence Unit, approximately 90% of the assets seized in Nassau County are seized civilly, not criminally.
The County’s share of seized assets is determined by which agency the NCPD assisted on each case. Forfeiture funds seized while assisting the Treasury and Justice Departments are normally distributed based on a ‘handshake’ deal that is agreed upon on a case-by- case basis. All parties involved in the case come to an agreement as to how the funds should be split fairly. State level forfeiture funds are split the same way for every investigation: 32% goes to substance abuse programs, 27% goes to the County DA’s Office, and 41% goes to the NCPD.
Specific programs funded include: • the Gun Buyback Program, • the Shot Spotter Program which helps determine the illegal use of firearms • the DART program, which prevent future alcohol and DWI crimes. • $25 Million to build a new police academy