Monday, June 30, 2014

Connecticut police use thousands in seized funds for training trips

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo
Investigations Editor
Connecticut police use money forfeited by convicted criminals such as drug dealers to buy new police dogs, undercover vehicles, technology, fitness equipment — and to pay for travel to events around the country.
About $1,400 of retiring state police Col. Danny Stebbins’s expenses on trips to conferences in Virginia, California, South Carolina, and Louisiana were paid for with asset forfeiture funds.
These included a trip to New Orleans that became controversial when Stebbins discussed details of the Sandy Hook shootings at a March 2013 conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police while police had yet to share many of those details with officials in Connecticut.
Overall, state police spent about $39,000 on travel.
While using asset forfeiture funds for travel expenses is allowed when it is for a law enforcement-related purpose, some, like attorney Jonathan J. Einhorn of New Haven, say the practice is inappropriate.

Read the full story here.

Look up how much police agencies got in asset forfeiture funds, and how they are using the money here.

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Connecticut police use forfeiture funds for canines, shooting simulators

This is Trent, a purebred Labrador, a narcotics detection K-9, a first for the Orange Police Department. He was trained to detect numerous illegal drugs including marijuana, heroin, ecstasy, opiates, and more. Trent was purchased through Guiding Eyes in New York through a Connecticut State Police Program that takes dogs not suited for guide work and sends them to police departments as bomb, arson and narcotic dogs. Trent was funded through asset forfeiture monies the Orange police department received through past narcotic investigations. / Contributed photo

By Michelle Tuccitto Sullo

Investigations Editor
Bristol police Officers Eric Wethered and Jason Kasparian took aim at a threatening male suspect on a screen in the Police Department’s new shooting decision simulator, and shouted at him to drop his weapon.
They decided to shoot when the suspect went for a weapon — and when the simulation was over, a training officer, Eric Ouellette, evaluated how they did.
The simulator is designed to help police prepare for potential deadly force situations, and it is just one of many purchases that police around the state made after getting funds through federal and state criminal asset forfeiture programs.
Police agencies reported using the funds for a variety of purchases, including police dogs, pistols, computer equipment and shooting simulators.

Read the full story here.

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