As police reform continues to be a hot button issue, State Auditor Julie Blaha took to the Capitol this week to discuss the “big story in the small numbers” with legislators: forfeitures.
“In 2019, the average size of a forfeiture under $1,500 was $473,” Blaha said. “While having a minimal financial benefit to the public safety system, to a Minnesotan this could mean the difference between making rent and experiencing homelessness.”
Blaha argued at legislative hearings this week that forfeitures do not seem to be disrupting crime, but local law enforcement in Rice and Steele counties disagree with Blaha’s stance.
“Forfeitures impact the community more than the Police Department,” said Owatonna Police Capt. Eric Rethemeier. “When we make a vehicle seizure from a DWI or a drug offense, the seizing of the vehicle is a result of a threat to public safety. These are typically high-level DWIs or multi-time offenders