WICHITA, Kan. – Drug tax revenue obtained by Kansas law enforcement agencies is on the rise, especially in Wichita. Although the Kansas statute has been in place since 1987, the money had not amounted to much, until recently.
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 wanted to know why Wichita Police could not or would not account for more than $200,000 they profited from drug busts since 2010, and how they spent the funds.
After filing a formal open records request with the department, KSN received WPD’s response to the request on Wednesday, April 23.
The document states: “The request you made could not be processed as part of the Kansas Open Records Act, because the report you requested does not exist.”
The WPD compiled a list of expenditures from 2010 to April 2014, as it relates to the department’s “seizure budget.”
The larger seizure account is made up of money obtained from the tax stamp, court proceedings, and asset seizures when police officers take convicted drug dealers’ belongings.
The account total at the beginning of 2014 exceeded $143,000. At the beginning of 2010, the account total exceeded $87,000.
The Wichita Police Department spends the narcotic seizure funds on training, operations, and equipment costs, including tasers.
“It’s a safety issue for the officers,” said Lieutenant Daniel East of the WPD.
So far in 2014, WPD has spent more than $116,000 on tasers alone. However, Wichita Police could not tell KSN exactly how many tasers they purchased with that money.
The Narcotic Seizure Fund also helps pay for the department’s helicopter costs, including $30,000 for repairs.
The Kansas State Department of Revenue has no formal regulations on how law enforcement is expected to track the specific funds obtained through drug tax stamp revenue.
“The money comes through us and then we send it out to the various law enforcement agencies, based on what they’ve earned. After that, it’s up to them how they spend it,” said Jeannine Koranda, the public information officer for the Department of Revenue.