Austin police seized more vehicles in ’11

Published 10:22am Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Austin Police Department seized 10 more vehicles in 2011 than in 2010, according to the Minnesota State Auditor’s report released last week.

The agency seized 27 vehicles, mostly because of DWIs, and sold most of them at auction for $22,761, minus $2,886 in administrative costs, netting $19,875. While there was an influx in seizures, those items brought $10,000 fewer in auction money than in 2010, when the department netted $30,396. The Mower County Sheriff’s Department was among several others that did not participate in the study.

After the auditor’s 2010 report, released this past spring, Austin Police Capt. Dave McKichan mentioned the seizures and totals change greatly from year to year.

“It really fluctuates depending on the timing,” he said in May. “Sometimes when you see a large seizure of actual product, you may not see a lot of money seized because all the money is in the actual product.”

Furthermore, one item can swing the totals significantly, as one car, a 1965 Ford Mustang, was sold for more than $13,000 in 2010, skewing the numbers. McKichan added the bulk of the Austin Police Department’s seizures stem from DWIs.

Regionally, total property seizures were among the fourth-highest reported by any agency in the state in 2011. The Southeast Minnesota Drug Task Force reported 191 seizures, including mostly cash and firearms, along with several vehicles. The task force covers an eight-county region, including Mower, Fillmore, Houston, Dodge, Olmsted, Winona, Goodhue and Wabasha counties.

All of the task force’s seizures stem from controlled substance cases and mostly included cash, along with some firearms and vehicles. Net proceeds from those seizures topped $158,000.

Statewide, Minnesota had a significant surge in property seizures in 2011. Minnesota law enforcement agencies reported a total of 6,338 seizures subject to forfeiture. This compares to 271 agencies reporting 4,604 incidents in 2010.

Of the 6,338 forfeiture incidents reported, 4,999 involved seized cash, property that was sold, or an agreement that required monetary compensation to the agency. Net proceeds from all of Minnesota’s forfeitures was $6,923,260.


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