Asset Forfeitures Fund New Police Department for San Juan
SAN JUAN - The San Juan Police Department said criminal activities carried out in their vicinity helped fund their new facility.
The department will be getting a brand new public safety building paid for mostly by money from asset forfeitures. By fall of 2017, San Juan police will abandon their current building to relocate at a 10-acre lot on Ridge Road.
“This is going to house everybody in the same building, so that’s more efficient. And we can provide a better service for the community,” San Juan Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.
The city of San Juan is only paying $600,000 for the new facility. Gonzalez said they department is fronting the remaining $1.3 million from asset forfeitures like “seized property, seized funds and arrests.”
Since 2010, San Juan police received about $3.4 million in asset forfeitures. However, by law, money originating from criminal activities is to be used for law enforcement purposes only.
“A small agency like us, the community cannot afford it. (They) cannot afford a new police department without funding it through other resources,” Gonzalez said.
The police chief said the money comes from local, state, federal and several task forces seizures. He said asset forfeitures are not the only benefit to those inter-agency partnerships.
“We cannot reduce crime by us tackling these criminals by ourselves. We have to partner up,” Gonzalez said. “And that’s why we partner up with HSI, with Border Patrol, with DEA, with the U.S. Marshals, with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and, of course, the DA’s office.”
He said the strategy helps in reducing crime and building up the department.