Mississippi law enforcement officials are adapting to a new law that changes how search and seizure of property is carried out.
Once, it was as simple as police confiscating property believed to be used in crimes, or bought with money from criminal activity. But a whole new set of regulations (including an online database for suspects, their charges and item seized) is affecting the way law enforcement conducts investigations in the Magnolia State.
Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell calls it “a mess.”
“This is just going to make more work for us,” said Cantrell. “You have to realize: we’re at war here with drug dealers. This is just going to make things harder for us.”
Once a suspect is given a Notice of Intent that their property will be taken, law officials must then track down a circuit court judge signature on a warrant and affidavit within 72 hours. From there, the seizure is placed in the hands of a District Attorney, who must send that information to the state Bureau of Narcotics. The suspect, their charge and property seized is then added to a public database online.
Sheriff Cantrell says the new law doesn’t make sense.
“It seems like this law is slanted to help a drug dealer. We need laws that help everyone, not just one specific group.”
The law went into effect in July, and has been garnering similar feedback from other law enforcement officials across the state ever since.