Funding RUSH

Brent Finnegan -- August 27th, 2009

Both WHSV and the DNR ran stories about the joint effort between the city and county to fund the RUSH Drug Task Force intelligence analyst position. Special Agent Tom Murphy pushed for retaining the position after the six-year federal grant expired. Both City Council and the county Board of Supervisors have agreed to step in and co-fund the $36,000 position.

The intelligence analyst position is not common. The DNR story points out, “Of the 25 drug task forces in Virginia, RUSH is one of only two that employ a full-time intelligence analyst …” But the implication is that the position pays for itself in seized assets. The DNR:

The analyst seizes money and finds assets associated with drug crimes which might not otherwise be found … Since 2000, RUSH has seized 79 vehicles, 913 firearms and $1.4 million in cash. That figure does not include money generated by the auction of seized properties, such as computers and real estate … Tom Murphy, a supervisory special agent with the Virginia State Police who heads the task force, said the Crawford properties would not have been found without the help of the analyst.

5 Responses to “Funding RUSH”

  1. JGFitzgerald says:

    It’s hard to argue with the business sense of funding a position that might pay for itself many times over. But one does worry about the idea of someone in a job like this trying harder to find assets in order to justify the position. The assets exist so the position must, or vice versa? (No pun intended on “vice.”)

  2. Renee says:

    If they are going to justify the position by saying it brings in millions worth of assets, you think they’d pay more than $36,000 to the specialist. Seems like just the software IAs use cost more than that. And do the police actually use seized money for funding? The whole argument seems a little twisted around.

  3. Bill says:

    Asset forfiture provides alot of $$ for local law enforcement. It provides money for uniforms, training and other equipment to keep both our police (and deputies) as well as the general public safe. This position is critical to the evergrowing problem of gang activity in the area. One only has to look at the issues at Hunter’s Ridge as just one example of this problem. There would be even more incidents of criminal gang and drug activity would it not be for a position such as this. Remember your history- it was the analysis of Al Capone’s bank records that led to his arrest and conviction years ago. Crime is fought on many fronts, this is just one. I am hopeful that Col. Harper and Sheriff Farley are able to at least stay on the curve in fighting crime in our community. The people they are protecting us from are often more organized and better equipt than our police forces. It is also important that we as a community, be more supportive with our tax $$ of the type of programs that help prevent criminal activity, such as after school programs for our youth, realistic education programs in our schools, and employer awareness of the importance of parents being home when children are home.

  4. seth says:

    that one’s a bit reactionary, but it does a pretty good job of enumerating some of the problematic aspects of asset forfeiture

  5. seth says:

    the article in that link is kind of old (it came out before the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act of 2000 (CAFRA) was passed).

    here’s a link to a more up to date (and somewhat less slanted) article that discusses some of the unintended consequence of forfeiture programs:

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