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Why can Kansas police seize cash and property from people?

A process called civil asset forfeiture allows Kansas police to take money, cars and other property from citizens — even if they're never convicted of a crime. Police say it stops criminals, but opponents say law enforcement takes too much, without enough oversight.

Between 2019 and 2022, Kansas police seized an average of $17,000 a day in property and cash. But 79% of those whose property was confiscated were not convicted of a crime.

Civil asset forfeiture is a tool to disrupt criminal activity, but once the property is seized, the onus is then put on citizens to get their property back and prove that there’s no reason to keep it.

Blaise Mesa of the Kansas News Service spoke with Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up To Date about the process and of victims who are still trying to recover property years it was taken by police.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Brian Ellison. It is produced by Paris Norvell, Byron Love and KCUR Studios and edited by Gabe Rosenberg and Lisa Rodriguez.

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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
Paris Norvell is a freelance podcast producer for KCUR Studios,
As an on-demand producer, I am focused on using my skills and experiences across multiple digital applications, platforms and media fields to create community focused audio, video and on-demand products for KCUR Studios. The media that I produce aims to inform, entertain and connect with the Kansas City metro area as we continue to learn from each other. Email me at byronlove@kcur.org.
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