It was reported this week that the San Diego police department “lost” a million dollars that was taken from suspects during arrests. The missing funds were uncovered by the local media when a journalist noticed that there was a discrepancy in the numbers that the police department had reported to the government.
The discrepancy ironically came out to exactly one million dollars, down to the penny. When asked about the missing loot, the police department claimed that they were opening an audit because they were not sure where the money went.
“We acknowledge you have noted a discrepancy,” SDPD spokesman Lt. Kevin Mayer said in a statement. “We have asked the City Comptroller to do a complete review and audit of the seized asset fund to see if there is an error.”
In 2010 the department’s budget showed a closing balance of $1,153,426 in seized assets, but then a year later that same account only had $153,426, with absolutely no explanation as to how $1 million was spent.
It is likely that this money was taken by a number of different officers and used for various personal expenses, but there is little hope that this will be discovered in an internal audit. Beyond the specifics of how the funds were spent, it is important to mention that all of this money is stolen, and that the police have no claim to this money in the first place.
The fact that police can confiscate your money and belongings over nonviolent offenses is the most important point to make note of in this situation. How police use the money once they have stolen it is more or less irrelevant when considering that they didn’t have the right to take it in the first place.