Drug tax revenue on the rise; Tracking WPD funds

WICHITA, Kan. — Drug tax revenue obtained by Kansas law enforcement agencies is on the rise, most notably in Overland Park and Wichita. Although the Kansas statute has been in place since the late 1980s, the money had not amounted to much, until now.

Data provided through an Open Records Request with the Wichita Police Department reveals that in 2009, Wichita Police brought in $9,800 in revenue. In 2010, that number increased to over $67,000. Since 2010, the annual drug tax revenue has not fallen below $52,000.

KSN reached out to KansasWatchdog reporter, Travis Perry, who described his interaction with Wichita Police Captain Doug Nolte, in regards to finding out a reason for the rise in tax revenue since 2009. Perry told KSN, after requesting the open records weeks ago, he has remained in contact with Capt. Nolte. KSN has obtained their email communication.

“I’m not sure what the exact difficulty is, but so far, Capt. Nolte has been unable to determine the exact cause of the revenue spike,” said Perry.

Capt. Nolte reportedly told Perry that WPD does not specifically track how it spends the tax revenue money.

KSN went straight to Capt. Nolte Wednesday, but were told he was unavailable for an interview.

According to statistics released by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, from 2010 to 2012, nearly 60% of all drug incidents in the state involved marijuana. Perry suggests marijuana use may be responsible for the increased drug tax revenue.

As outlined in Perry’s article, Overland Park Police provided a report on their drug tax revenue and how the department spent the funds. Police Chief John Douglass told Perry that drug tax stamp cash, “…has helped the OPPD purchase everything from building security upgrades and currency-counting machines to portable radios and surveillance equipment.”

KSN wants to know why Wichita Police cannot or will not account for more than $200,000 they profited from drug busts since 2010, and how they spent the funds.

“The very fact that public funds, however they come into the public domain, could be spent without being tracked is a little disturbing,” said Perry.

KSN is scheduled to meet with Capt. Nolte Thursday to discuss the drug tax revenue spending.

In addition, KSN reached out to Lieutenant Dan East and Capt. Jeff Weible with the Wichita Police Department to receive comment, but all were unable to meet for an interview. We also contacted Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter to set up an interview regarding their department’s revenue, but our efforts were also unsuccessful.

To read Travis Perry’s article in its entirety, you can follow this link.

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