Under Rhode Island law, if property is turned into police departments and remains unclaimed for six months, departments have two choices: destroy the property or to sell it and hand the profits over the state’s general fund.
A new bill, S0289, would allow police departments to use any income from the sale of the property “for police related community functions, to replace stolen property and/or for law enforcement.”
“It just makes sense,” said Sen. Louis P. DiPalma (D-Middletown, Newport, Little Compton, Tiverton), who co-sponsored the bill.
A bill introduced in the State Senate by Sen. Christopher Ottiano (R-Bristol, Portsmouth, Tiverton) would allow police to put the proceeds from confiscated property sales directly into the departments' operating budget.
“What we have done in the past is we try to auction it off,” said Lt. Dring. “It’s a time-consuming process for the police department. We have a lot of items that are turned in.”
Dring said there is little incentive for departments to spend time selling the items, so they tend to sit in storage.
What do you think? Should local police departments be allowed to keep profits earned from abandoned property auctions?