NYPD admits accounting for its civil-forfeiture seizures is hopeless

From RT:

A detailed account of money and property seized by the New York Police Department is essentially impossible, an official says, as a comprehensive effort to report how much money the NYPD takes during arrests would “lead to system crashes.”

The New York City Council is considering a bill that would require the NYPD to offer annual reports of how much money and property it collects as potential evidence through the process of civil forfeiture. The bill aims to make civil forfeiture more transparent, but the NYPD claims it has no idea how much money it seized from New Yorkers and others it arrested last year. 

Late last week, in testimony to the city council’s Public Safety Committee, NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner Robert Messner said detailing department seizures is technologically unworkable based on limitations of the NYPD’s Property and Evidence Tracking System (PETS).

“Attempts to perform the types of searches envisioned in the bill will lead to system crashes and significant delays during the intake and release process,” said Messner, according to the Village Voice. “The only way the department could possibly comply with the bill would be a manual count of over half a million invoices each year.”

PETS was put in place in 2012, yet NYPD officials told the council last week that the system is too antiquated to meet the demands of the proposed transparency bill. Upon installation of PETS, however, the NYPD touted it as able to offer “the cradle-to-grave life cycle of property and evidence… visible upon demand,” and entered the system into the 2012 Computerworld Honors, which acknowledges “those who use Information Technology to benefit society,”according to Ars Technica.

When asked by the council whether they had come to the hearing with any kind of idea of how much money the NYPD actually seized …

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