My sheriff has requested that I advise him on his office raising money for use in drug cases. His office wants to solicit local individuals and businesses to donate money to his office to use in drug buys, possibly paying informants, etc. Of course, there is no money budgeted for doing this. Can the sheriff?s office take donations and use it as they desire or would a donation have to be put in the county?s general fund and this money budgeted for that purpose? If they can take the money is it advisable for them to do so?
[This message was edited by Shane Hadaway on 01-23-02 at .]
I don't know about the legality, but it sounds like a really, really bad idea that will someday end up embarrassing someone in the newspaper or on TV. Of course, I'm a little more sensitive to appearances now that I have to get elected to my job.
I think you may safely operate under the assumption that there must be a statute authorizing the gifts to the sheriff before this program can begin. Lacking a statute the sheriff may not begin the program. If the sheriff proceeds anyway, the general fund would be the most likely beneficiary of this program. Why? Because no statute appointed the sheriff as the holder of the gifts. While this appears circular, it is not, it is merely county government.
For further details about what can go wrong on undercover drug operations that are not properly supported by law or supervised, see the ongoing litigation in Dallas over the prosecution of defendants for possessing kilos of sheetrock.
Do you indict drug cases without first obtaining a lab report?
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