Grants, loans and leases are the most typical ways to fund a laser scanner. But many agencies have another source of funding that they’ve probably never considered—federal forfeiture accounts. In my experience, a federal forfeiture account is the fastest and easiest way to get the mapping technology your agency needs.
While federal forfeiture accounts are not a topic of open discussion, if your agency is involved in any Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) or federal agency task force, then it has a federal forfeiture account. Even small participating agencies can receive hundreds of thousands of dollars through these equitable sharing programs.
In most cases, your chief of police or sheriff has total discretion over your agency’s forfeiture account. They don’t need to get approval from any governing board. Their “live-by” is the Guide to Equitable Sharing for State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies. According to the guide, which is jointly published by the departments of Justice and Treasury, forfeiture funds can be used for law enforcement investigations, operations and equipment. Forensic mapping technology certainly falls within these categories. The money can even be used for matching-fund contributions for state or federal grant awards if your agency goes that route for technology funding.
If your agency has a federal forfeiture account, it’s hands-down the easiest and quickest ways to fund your mapping technology needs. The expenditure doesn’t require outside approval; the funds don’t have to be in the budget; and your agency’s governing board cannot reduce or supplant your budget. Get your chief of police or sheriff onboard, and you could literally have a check in hand and the deal done by the end of the day.