The account comes from funds of forfeited assets that were seized during narcotics- and white collar-related crime, including fraud and identity theft.
The funds help the Police Department pay for two school resource officers, surveillance equipment and specialized training for narcotics, gang and Special Weapons and Tactics officers, Edey said.
While the larger-than-average account will help the Police Department support reoccurring operational costs, Edey advised the City Council on Monday against using the windfall to pay for additional services because the income stream is so unpredictable.
Revenue from asset forfeitures in the 2005-06 fiscal year, Edey said, were not sufficient to cover operating costs that were paid out of the account.
Using the account for additional expenses would further obligate the Police Department to pay for reoccurring operations, Edey said.
“We are not in the business of going out and just looking for money that the crooks have,” he said. “Our business is to get the drugs off the street, out of our schools, put the bad guys behind bars and then if we happen to see their money, we are more than happy to take it [and] process it through the system.”
State and federal agencies must also authorize the Police Department’s use of the funds, Edey said.
The agencies allow the Police Department to use the funds to pay for school resource officers because they engage in narcotics and education programs, he said.
Still, adding a school resource officer wouldn’t be wise “because of the fluctuation from year to year,” Councilman Dave Weaver said.
The Police Department can receive up to 80% in federal asset forfeiture funds and 65% from the state when it is the primary investigative agency.
Millions of dollars were seized from narcotics investigations in the 1980s and placed into forfeiture funds, but those takes dwindled over time, Edey said.
Criminals have become increasingly savvy in keeping their assets out of the hands of law enforcement agencies, he added.
“They are much more sophisticated, the money isn’t even reaching the United States anymore,” he said.
Get in touch VERONICA ROCHA covers public safety and the courts. She may be reached at (818) 637-3232 or by e-mail at veronica.rocha@ latimes.com.