Forfeiture puts muscle into police community engagement

SAANICH – Car enthusiasts will get an extra charge out of interacting with police officers at local events, courtesy of B.C.’s civil forfeiture program.

Saanich Police representatives today unveiled the department’s new community engagement vehicle: a forfeited 2012 Dodge Charger SRT-8. Outfitted to catch the eye and the ear – with a custom wrap, ample V8 rumble and a powerful stereo – the black muscle car will support SPD’s participation in school visits, parades, music in the park, the annual Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock ride and a number of other community events.

“By offering free use of forfeited, high-profile vehicles, we can help to foster conversations and stronger connections between police officers and citizens of all ages,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Doing this really compounds the public safety value of civil forfeiture, which takes vehicles and other assets out of criminals’ hands.”

“We’ve heard from the community that engaging with the public and fostering positive relationships between the police and the public is tremendously important,” said Saanich Police Chief Const. Bob Downie. “Incorporating this vehicle into our community engagement initiatives supports the commitments we made in our new strategic plan, and given the car’s history, which we’ve highlighted on the vehicle, also helps to reinforce the message that crime doesn’t pay.”

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) officers seized the vehicle in August 2015 in relation to an investigation of drug-trade violence in Surrey and Delta. The vehicle was forfeited with the consent of its owner. Saanich Police have the use of the Charger for two years, after which the department can apply for an extension or return the vehicle to the Province.

B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) works to undermine the profit motive behind unlawful activity by taking away tools and proceeds of that activity. The vast majority of cases the office pursues have links to drugs, gangs and organized crime.

Sgt. Jereme Leslie #228

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