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Lawmakers Consider New 'Policing For Profit' Compromise

'Policing For Profit' Reform Headed To Governor's Desk
Posted at 11:13 AM, Jan 18, 2016
and last updated 2021-03-10 18:40:26-05

(Story originally created Mar 25, 2015)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee police would no longer be able to take cash or property from drivers without charging them with a crime, according to legislation being drafted by lawmakers.

It follows abuses first exposed by NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

For more than four years, our NewsChannel 5 investigation revealed how such "policing-for-profit" practices have hurt innocent victims across the state.

Legislation introduced by Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, would have repealed civil forfeiture laws that make such practices legal.

But Hill told a House subcommittee Wednesday that he expects to file an amendment that would still let police seize cash or property that they suspect is tied to the drug trade, but only when they make an arrest.

"What we are attempting to do is we're trying to create two classes of civil forfeiture to allow the folks that want to do and need to do the drug interdiction [to] do it in a safe, effective and lawful manner, but that civil forfeiture as we know it cannot take place in the state of Tennessee without an arrest," Hill told his fellow lawmakers.

"We are trying to work out something that is reasonable but that protects the citizens of the great state of Tennessee but allows law enforcement to do what they need to do to protect us as well."
Hill said he is working with the law enforcement community to try to hammer out a compromise.

The subcommittee voted to move the bill -- House Bill 1096 -- to the full House Civil Justice Committee for consideration next week. (For a list of committee members, click here.)

Below is NewsChannel 5's “Policing for Profit” special that aired in December 2014:

Back to NC5 Investigates: Policing for Profit
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