A first, timid step to curb police highway seizures
We have written before about the dangerously unconstitutional practice of local law enforcment officials seizing property from citizens based upon little to no evidence...and then using that seized property themselves. The practice has gotten so out of hand in some areas that one federal agency has finally decided it's time to remind local cops about a little thing called the constitution">constitution">Constitution:
Federal drug enforcement officials have issued a new code of conduct for highway police across the country intended to help curb the number of questionable civil seizures of cash and property from motorists.
Senior officials in the federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program said they are doing so to remind local and state police about the need to honor Constitutional values and the civil rights of motorists. The code is voluntary.
The code emphasizes the importance of traffic safety and the restrained use of an aggressive enforcement technique known as “highway interdiction,” which often involves large numbers of traffic stops by officers looking for drugs, illicit cash and other contraband.
The code, a series of bullet points, was issued last month to hundreds of officials at the national conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando.
“Emphasize interdiction programs are NOT purposed for enhancing agency budgets,” the document says. “Underscore forfeited ill-gotten proceeds be spent prudently in accordance with applicable statutes, sound policies and regulations.”
The code should be mandatory, because even when you're on the road, your constitutional rights go with you. That some in law enforcement have to be reminded of that is sad, indeed.