Boardman Township benefits from task force's seized funds
By Ashley Luthern
Boardman Township has reaped about $5,000 in the last year by being the U.S. Marshal’s task force accountant, and officials expect that sum to increase in the future.
The township handles seized funds for the Youngstown division of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. The division includes Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
“If we make an arrest and someone has a large amount of cash on them, when the case is disposed of, a certain amount of money stays,” said Boardman detective Sgt. Glen Riddle, who is assigned full-time to the task force.
Boardman fiscal officer William Leicht said the township keeps 20 percent of the total amount it holds for the local task force division. Prior to this, the money was handled by the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office.
“There have been small amounts this year, but there’s about $25,000 in the pipe. None of those cases have been finalized,” Leicht said.
The amount of the seizure that is kept by the task force is determined the court system, Riddle said.
“Everyone fights for the money,” Riddle said.
When a case concludes, it could be decided that seized money be used to pay for court costs, for example.
Although the amount isn’t much compared to the township’s annual budget of about $17 million, Leicht said it helps.
The 20 percent goes directly to the township and some of it has been used to bolster Boardman’s Law Enforcement Trust Fund, which primarily is composed of seized funds from township police investigations.
Riddle said the arrangement is beneficial for the task force, too. Two of the task force’s six full-time members are Boardman police officers.
“It’s streamlined the process and made it easier to make purchases for the task force using the seized funds,” he said, referencing a recent purchase of new ballistic vests.