Cash seizures fuel police spending
Amount spent by all agencies (in millions)
Click on a state or use the search box below to see how agencies reported their spending
National Spending Breakdown
Federal guidelines call for the money to go for law enforcement. In documents obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request, police agencies reported their spending in broad categories. Their reports include few details on specific purchases, and local officials decide how to categorize their spending. They most often choose the category "Other."
Communications and computers
Building and improvements
Salaries and overtime
Travel and training
Information and rewards
Federal civil forfeiture money has been spent on investigative expenses like drug buys, informants and overtime, as well as equipment, training, awards, memorials and community programs like drug abuse treatment. These examples are taken from documents and interviews.
BearCat armored personnel carrier
Douglasville Police Department, Ga.
27 M-4 assault rifles
Braselton Police Department, Ga.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Ca.
Prince George's County Police Department, Md.
Brunswick County Sheriff, NC
Randall County Sheriff, Texas
Sparkles the Clown
community relations program
Reminderville Police Department, Ohio
High Times magazine subscription
Metrich Enforcement Unit, Ohio
Methodology: Spending figures were compiled from annual reports submitted since 2008 by local and state police agencies to the U.S. Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program. The program allows the agencies to keep and spend up to 80 percent of assets seized in civil forfeitures. Agencies self-report their spending in the broad categories shown on this page.
SOURCE: A Washington Post analysis of Department of Justice data.