Thursday, November 01, 2012

Small Town Police Slush Fund Questioned

Department of Justice Wants Police Department To Return $4 Million

The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the small town village police department of Bal Harbour, Florida asking for a return of $4 million in drug forfeiture money the department has gathered over several years.

Bal Harbour leads a task force with the Glades County Sheriff's office, according the the Miami Herald and seized $56 million from 2008 to 2011 in drug forfeitures "without adequate written policies or procedures, prosecutorial oversight or audits of undercover bank accounts," according to the Department of Justice.

The small town police department is now facing allegations of questionable expenses including hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to confidential informants from the forfeiture money.

The Department of Justice wants the return of $3.1 million the police collected in cash and property from drug busts, as well as $709,836 spent improperly on salaries and benefits. The department allegedly spent money on 1st class airfare and luxury car rentals as well as salaries for Southern California police officers supposedly managing confidential informants.

The DOJ has sanctioned the department from participating further in the federal drug forfeiture program whereby police departments get a cut of forfeited property and cash seized from drug dealers.

Police Chief Thomas Hunker heads the Bal Harbour Police department, well known for it's speed traps in the small east coast town north of Miami.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:47 AM

    I have been associated with Bal Harbour for about 50 years and must say I am not surprised. The police there have always been a bunch of "badge heavy" brutes who openly eat at the bal Harbour club for free and harrass elderly residents over minor traffic violations. I recently remeber being yelled at unnecessiarly by an agressive female office who had just pulled over a rolys royce outside the bal harbour shops because i dared proceed past her police car. Many residents who pay their wages such as myself are petrified of them.
    What I dont understand is why an area of less than one square mile with approximately 2500 residents needs 4 motorcycle policemen a dective unit a code enforcement officer 4 patrol cars a canine unit a mobile command center . Were all these far flung activities undertaken to expand the size power and resources of a hugely oversupplied and bullying police force which has litte to do? Sadly I think so. The residents who are paying Mr. Hunker and his staff's salaries wish they would concentrate on plain old police work ie keeping the residents of a small town safe and leave the revenue generation to elected officials.