The Internal Audit Department released its Law Enforcement Trust Fund, Audit 15-14
The City of Tampa (City), under the administration of the Tampa Police Department (TPD), has established four financial funds collectively referred to and reported on as the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF). The four funds are:
- LETF – State Forfeiture (State)
- LETF – Federal Forfeiture-Treasury (Treasury)
- LETF – Federal Forfeiture-Justice (Justice)
- LETF – Police Confiscated Money-Pending (Pending)
Florida state law establishes that assets including but not limited to currency, vehicles, and other personal or real property (collectively referred to as contraband) that are used in the commission of, or acquired from the proceeds from a commission of, a felony or violation of the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act (Forfeiture Act) may be seized by and forfeited to law enforcement agencies. For the City, such contraband is recorded in the City’s State fund. The City’s management of the State fund and the use of any assets in the State fund are subject to the restrictions and guidance of Florida state law, specifically the Forfeiture Act.
TPD is also authorized to request and receive an equitable share of proceeds attained in a federal forfeiture achieved through the operations of TPD in conjunction with federal agencies involving a violation of federal law and in compliance with federal and state law and internal guidelines. The Justice and Treasury funds consist of assets obtained through these requests, and these two funds are subject to federal law and the requirements of the Guide to Equitable Sharing as published by the Department of Justice and the Treasury Department, respectively.
The Pending fund is the holding location for funds that have been seized by TPD but have not yet had a full determination of ownership. As such, the fund is subject to internal accounting restrictions.
As of August 2015, for fiscal year 2015, the City had brought in approximately $1.3M, spent approximately $4.2M (with $3M dedicated for the new TPD shooting range), and had approximately $7.5M available across the State, Justice, and Treasury funds with an additional $1.1M in the Pending fund. Again, however, usage of any available balance is subject to the terms and restrictions of the governing documents and regulations and the approval of the City’s leadership and administration.
TPD keeps track of all forfeiture activity through hard-copy files and in an internal database. The needs of TPD for keeping track of all forfeiture activity have outgrown the initially designed capacity of this internal database, and as a result, TPD is currently working to replace this database with a more modern system capable of fitting current needs.
The report in its entirety can be viewed on TampaGov.net