That thing where cops increase drug dealing in your neighborhood to look like heroes.

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Doesn’t happen, right?  The fuzz is there to serve-and-protect.  They’d never do anything to bring otherwise disinterested drug dealers into your neighborhood.  That seems silly.

Unless you live in Sunrise, Florida, anyway.  There, they think it’s a great idea.  According to the Sun Sentinel:

A money-making venture to lure out-of-town drug buyers into Sunrise to purchase cocaine from police has been halted as a result of a Sun Sentinel investigation.

* * *

The newspaper revealed that police enticed buyers with bargain prices and offers of coke on consignment.

You can see the city officials engage in some grade-A law enforcement boot-licking, and media bashing in this quick clip:

I find this amusing on two fronts. First, the cops aren’t trying to address any potential problems that may already exist in Sunrise, Fla.  They’re trying to create a problem. Second, their motivation is money.  They’re chasing Benjamins. You can learn more about chasing Benjamins in this quick clip:

How do they make money? Fairly easily, actually.  They arrest the drug dealers they’ve lured into town.  Then they “take all their stuff.”  If you didn’t already know, “take all their stuff” is lawyerspeak for what law enforcement calls “seizing” and “forfeiting” stuff (of course, if you did it to them, they’d call it “theft” or “stealing”).  So, after they’ve lured Johnny Drug Dealer into town, they arrest him, take all of the cash he brought with him, and also take his car (and possibly everything in it).

The Sun Sentinel published the results of a six-month investigation Oct. 6 and 7 exposing how the police department’s narcotics unit has made millions of dollars in recent years — not by capturing local drug dealers but by drawing high-dollar cocaine buyers into Sunrise from far away and then seizing their cash and cars.

Pretty awesome business plan, no?  You’ve already got the cops on the payroll, so there’s no additional overhead. Just sit back and watch the free money roll in.  Except, you don’t:

 The city also paid one lady informant — a charming, shapely brunette — more than $800,000 since 2008. She was credited by police with helping Sunrise set up 63 stings and reel in at least $5 million in cash and assets seized from criminals, according to a court record.

The newspaper also reported that a dozen undercover officers regularly working the stings made a total of $1.2 million in overtime over three-and-a-half years.

The hidden costs always get you, don’t they?

Thankfully, I’m not the only one that thinks intentionally luring gun-wielding drug dealers into neighborhoods with kids is a bad idea:

“It bothers me that they don’t see a problem with it,” Sunrise resident Roseanne Eckert told the Sun Sentinel Friday.

The mother of a teenage boy, Eckert wrote to the mayor earlier in the week, expressing concern about the safety of her son and his friends riding bikes near Sawgrass Mills, the sprawling outlet mall where undercover police and informants posing as cocaine dealers have staged stings.

“I now have to worry that your … police will be out guns blazing because of criminals they brought to our city?” she asked the mayor.

Nevertheless, the city officials support the program.  Sadly, they’ve been forced to shut it down because of the media attention.  The damn media always screws up every good law enforcement program.

Somewhat lost in the article is the scariest thing of all.  That’s the idea that even local policing isn’t about policing anymore.  In your state, in your city and in your neighborhood, there very will is a police department putting together a policy that looks more like a business plan than guidelines for being decent cops.  That may not bother you now, but it will once it makes good business sense to ignore your rights and arrest you.

Author: matthaiduk

Matt Haiduk is an uncooperative Criminal Defense Lawyer with offices in Kane County and McHenry County, Illinois. When he's not picking on people on the internet, he's playing frisbee with his dog or watching his girlfriend race bikes. Feel free to mock him on twitter or add him on Google+.

1 thought on “That thing where cops increase drug dealing in your neighborhood to look like heroes.”

  1. Always surprised by people who don't know the Sheriff's yearly budget is 24 million, in a county of just over 300K (and they don't think its a business … har har)

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