Houston’s Harris County District Attorney’s Office has taken on the role of banker this year, awarding local law enforcement agencies more than $3 million to buy new radios, digital cameras, and other equipment upgrades, says the Houston Chronicle. About $1.5 million each year comes to the office from funds seized from drug dealers and other criminals. When Ken Magidson took over the office after the abrupt retirement of Chuck Rosenthal, the county had about $20 million that had been seized over the years from drug dealers, illegal gambling operations, returned check fees, and other criminal activity.
Among beneficiaries of seized funds this year: A $250,000 check to Crime Stoppers of Houston for cash rewards given to tipsters, $131,933 for dashboard-mounted digital cameras for 19 police cruisers in Deer Park, Tx., and $58,473 to Galena Park’s police department for on a computer system that gives its officers access to a national fingerprint database. Rosenthal spent some of his discretionary funds on payment of bar association fees for his attorneys, legal conferences, and on building improvements, including a request to install bullet-resistant glass in 12 receptionist areas.