Communities are scrutinizing the credibility of law enforcement as concerns associated with unfair treatment and police misconduct mount. Despite ever-present demands for reform, law enforcement policy and practices continue to undercut efforts to build community relationships. Calls to defund police, whether by abolitionists or those who argue that modern policing encompasses job duties law enforcement should never perform, entered mainstream conversations about police reform after the death of Eric Garner in 2014, and reemerged when George Floyd was murdered in 2020. While it is true that financial constraints can force policy change, defunding the police could have unintended negative consequences to the public by increasing police reliance on revenue from civil asset forfeiture. At present, the United States Department of Justice’s Asset Forfeiture Program provides a way for state and local police departments to supplement budgets by seizing property from individual citizens.

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