Last year, the Gardner Police Department served 10 search warrants for narcotics, which is one more than the nine served in 2018.
“This is up one from 2018, even with reduced emphasis on drug cases due to staffing shortages related to increased case work in other areas, and lack of resources to work drug cases,” said Jay Belcher, Gardner Police Chief.
The department utilizes a bike patrol and K9 Zeus to spot narcotics use. “Zeus works a regular work week with his handler Officer Anderson,” Belcher said. “It is not unusual for Zeus to be called to the scene of a vehicle stop when the presence of drugs use is suspected when Zeus and Officer Anderson are on duty.  Zeus can assist officers in locating drugs, once an officer has probable cause to believe drugs are in a vehicle.”
Gardner also has a policy regarding forfeitures related to narcotics enforcement, as required by state statute.
Currently Gardner’s Special Law Enforcement Trust Fund has $28,832, compared to last year’s total of $12,490. The amount varies with property seized and expenditures made.
“The increase is random and based on what cash the suspects had in their possession at the time of arrest that they could not account for,” Belcher said.
According to Gardner added $3,344 in forfeited property deposits this year; Spring Hill zero; Olathe $2,710; and Johnson County $8,986.
In previous year’s the Kansas legislature has considered but not passed amendments to the state’s criminal forfeiture law, which is considered one of the toughest in the nation, because – unlike other states – it does not require a criminal conviction to retain an individual’s personal property.
When the Legislature did not change the law, the state’s auditing arm conducted a review of several large agencies; some were found lacking in record keeping.
At that time, a review of Gardner’s Special Law Enforcement Trust Fund indicated it is current and on point in keeping with state statute and the city’s ordinance.
In brief, funds can be used only to defray costs of lengthy investigations; for technical equipment or expertise; or to provide matching funds for federal grants. Funds may not be used as part of the department’s ordinary operating costs.
Notice of property seizures are made to individuals and a chain of custody for property appears to be followed.