But opponents of civil forfeiture say the old problems won’t go away with new officers. The problem, rather, is inherent in the policy.
“I don’t think this is necessarily about corruption,” said Dan Alban, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. “The problem of civil forfeiture is one of perfectly good cops responding to incentives.”
The Equitable Sharing program allows state and local agencies to keep 80% of whatever they take from forfeiture. The federal government keeps the other 20%. In 2018, N.C. law enforcement agencies made a little more than $17 million from forfeited cash and sales proceeds, show records from the DOJ.