The Department of Justice has temporarily suspended its practice of sharing seized criminal assets with local police departments, citing $1.2 billion in budget cuts recently approved by Congress and the president as the cause.
Sam Dotson, chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, said the change would have “a huge impact on police departments not only in St. Louis but around the country.”
Dotson did not provide a specific figure for the value of the assets his department gets a share of each year, but he said it typically amounts to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The money, which comes from assets recovered in criminal operations investigated by joint local and federal forces, helps fund a variety of purchases and projects. In St. Louis, police have used the funds to pay for equipment, vehicles, officer training and new facilities.
A memo says the Department of Justice hopes to return to sharing payments “at a later date should the budget picture improve.”