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Walker, Sheriffs Announce Justice Department Reversal on Asset Forfeiture

March 28, 2016
Press Release

GREENSBORO, N.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (NC-06) announced today that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has reversed its abrupt decision to defer Equitable Sharing payments to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies. The DOJ’s reversal comes after months of questioning from Walker’s office.

In an email to Walker this morning, the DOJ stated, “Because of your office’s interest in this issue, we wanted to let you know…that the Department of Justice is pleased to announce that, effective immediately, the department is resuming equitable sharing payments to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies.”

“This is a huge win, not just for North Carolina, but for law enforcement agencies across the country,” Walker stated. “I am proud of our staff for diligently pursuing these measures, but I am more elated that this reversal will allow sheriffs and law enforcement professionals in the Sixth District to better serve and protect the people of North Carolina,” Walker added.

“The release of federal forfeiture funds back to local law enforcement by the Department of Justice is welcome news,” said Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes. “Many law enforcement agencies, including the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office, count on these funds to buy equipment to allow them to continue our fight against the influx of drugs into our community. My thanks to Congressman Mark Walker and the other congressmen and senators who took a leadership role in making this outcome a reality,” Barnes added.

“Several months ago, the DOJ abruptly decided to cease the Asset Forfeiture Program. This decision greatly impacted the Sheriff’s Office’s budget and our ability to fight against crime,” said Sheriff Sam Page. “The first phone call I made was to my congressman. Not only did Congressman Walker listen to our concerns, but he quickly responded. I’m excited that the DOJ has decided to reinstate this program so that my department and all law enforcement agencies across the nation can now better protect our citizens,” added Page.

 “The restoration of the Equitable Sharing Funds will serve as a boost to the morale of law enforcement professionals nationwide,” said Alamance County Sheriff Terry Johnson. “These monies were used by my agency in the past to purchase much needed equipment for the safety of our officers and the citizens of our communities. I am very thankful to God that we did not lose any officers because of the lack of safety equipment during the suspension of the Equitable Sharing Program. I would like to thank Congressman Mark Walker and all other elected officials for their efforts in restoring these funds for state, local and tribal law enforcement,” Johnson added.