The National Sheriffs’ Association is shocked and disappointed by the Department of Justice’s decision to suspend the equitable sharing of Asset Forfeiture Program funds to state, local, and tribal law enforcement. This is yet another blow to those who work every day to prevent terrorism and crime in our communities.
By rescinding nearly $1.2 billion from the Program, Congress and the Administration have openly chosen to focus on the financial bottom line over protecting communities. They should be ashamed because this decision will have severe and direct consequences for our communities.
While Congress and the President vacation in peace and tranquility, law enforcement knows all too well that the criminals, terrorists, and criminal aliens do not take a holiday. Those seeking to do us harm can rest easier knowing one less tool can be used against them.
The Congress and the Administration have once again failed to understand the repercussions of their actions. In this case, joint task forces across the country will do without the critical manpower support of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies because many, if not most, sheriffs will be unable to sustain the anti-terror and criminal prevention tempo sufficient to meet the ever-increasing demands. Our federal law enforcement partners will now carry that unimaginable burden. Even more disturbing, DHS and the FBI described last week a new phase of terror following the Paris and San Bernardino attacks.
The protective capabilities of our nation are being downgraded at every level in never ending attacks on law enforcement. From this rescission to the early release of thousands of federal inmates to the restrictions on surplus military equipment available to state and local law enforcement, the safety and security of our communities is being put at risk.
We call upon Congress to reverse this misguided decision immediately upon its return to Washington and ensure that law enforcement has the tools it needs to protect our communities.