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The way it was explained to me in training was that the stuff was being treated as a separate entity, independent of its owner. In other words, the guy wasn’t being charged with a crime. His car, or his house, or his cash was being charged with a crime. Stuff could now commit crimes, and be convicted of them. A cop could hold a trial at the side of the road, convict someone’s money of drug trafficking, and then put the money in jail.
So what to do with all that dough? No government agency ever returns money to the treasury. If they have any left at the end of the budget year they have a shopping spree.
What shall we buy? TOYS!!!
SWAT was the latest fad. Buy SWAT stuff!
Questions were raised. SWAT is a legitimate concept, and is needed in cases of barricaded persons, hostage situations, etc. But most agencies, even big ones, go for months and sometimes years without experiencing such events. The toys gathered dust. Officials and concerned taxpayers asked, “What do you NEED this stuff for?”
No need? CREATE a need!
And that’s why things that used to be handled in a low-key, non-confrontational way by street-savvy beat cops now require SWAT intervention, including routine service of warrants for insignificant and non-violent offenses.