Civil asset forfeitures have been dreaded for years. A civil asset forfeiture, or an asset seizure, is what allows police officers to seize personal property without a warrant, based only on the belief that the item was somehow connected to a crime. Thanks to a new device purchased by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, patrol officers will now be able to seize funds stashed away on debit, credit, and even pre-paid debit cards.
The device called an Electronic Recovery and Access to Data machine, and officers would just need to scan the card to be able to seize money from those accounts. The OHP has assured the public that funds would not be seized without just reasoning, but for some, this assurance isn’t enough to put their minds at ease.
“We will look at how the person is acting before we act,” said one highway patrol officer. “This isn’t just about money. This machine helps keep people’s money safe when fraud has occurred. The money will be once the person can prove that they had a good reason to have the money.”
State Representative Kyle Loveless has frowned upon the system. Loveless stated that implementation of the device has denied people due process and some officers have already abused the device.
“If we must err,” Loveless said,” I’d rather err for the Constitution.”
Sixteen ERAD machines were purchased and implemented in May 2016. The OHP, according to reports, paid $5,000 for the scanners and software. The OHP must also pay a fee of 7.7% of all highway seizures to the ERAD Group, Inc.