When cops are on the job, they’re under tremendous pressure not only to fight crime and serve their communities, but also not to say anything that might reflect poorly on and agency or law enforcement in general.
That’s why retired cops are an excellent source for analysis that’s free of the constraints that come with being an active-duty law-enforcement professional.
Ted Nelson was a Michigan State Trooper for 26 years until he retired in 2000.
Now he’s a speaker with LEAP—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition—a drug-policy reform advocacy group.
Nelson frequently speaks about the problems surrounding civil-asset forfeiture.
For cops on the job, criticizing a policy that funds paychecks, equipment, and overtime is risky business.
But Nelson only has himself to answer to these days.
Many of the narcotics teams were seizing items such as furniture and televisions. I don’t think they were concerned with showing that they were obtained through illegal proceeds,” Nelson said recently.
One of the major problems associated with the practice is the impact is has on the public’s trust of police officers which is currently at unacceptably low levels.
“I think there are communities that are affected more by this than others and I think those communities are resistant to trusting police. They think police will arrest them or take things from them,” said Nelson.