The Boston Police Department spent $2.6 million from sales of property seized from drug dealers to lease sport utility vehicles, sedans, and other vehicles for officers over the past eight years in a program that officials acknowledge was wasteful, the Boston Globe reports. The vehicles were assigned for undercover investigators trying to fit into the drug scene, but they also ended up with other officers, including supervisors directly involved in investigations and who drove them home.
The department eliminated the leasing program in February. Christopher Fox , head of the department’s Bureau of Administration and Technology, said he noticed the program’s spending excesses two years ago and has been working since then to eliminate it. Paul Joyce, superintendent of the unit that leased the vehicles, said they were used for covert surveillance to buy drugs during stings and to tail drug dealers. He said that by leasing newer and flashier vehicles than the standard Crown Victoria, officers could “blend in with the neighborhood surroundings and not draw the attention of suspects.” He added: Ultimately, the program was growing a little too big. We were using more assets out of the funds for it. We needed to reevaluate.”