Senate Passes Larkin Bill Allowing Police To Keep Equipment Seized From Criminals

William J. Larkin, Jr.

March 02, 2006

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced the State Senate has passed legislation (S.78) he sponsored that would allow law enforcement officials to retain electronic devices and surveillance equipment that has been seized from convicted criminals and use them for law enforcement purposes.

"Under current law, police departments can keep any vehicle, vessel or aircraft they seize from criminals and use those things for law enforcement purposes," said Senator Larkin. "This policy has proven very successful. It takes these illegally obtained items out of the hands of criminals and, at the same time, saves taxpayers a great deal of money when cities, towns and villages don’t have to purchase these expensive items."

Larkin continued, "Law enforcement agencies also frequently seize other items from criminals. Most commonly is electronic equipment. Computers, video equipment and fax machines, and surveillance equipment such as night vision goggles are often confiscated. In most cases, this kind of sophisticated equipment is superior to the technology used by police agencies.

"Unfortunately, under current law, such valuable equipment cannot be forfeited to the police. Instead, it must be auctioned off. But, the auction process is slow and costly, and produces only a fraction of the value of the goods, even when the electronic equipment is in excellent condition. This bill would allow the police to keep the electronic equipment they seize from law breakers and use it to combat crime."

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.