May 13, 2021

CHICAGOLAND: The Chicago Police reportedly bought secret drones using drug money.

The Sun-Times was privy to an email sent by Karen Conway, Chicago PD’s director of police research and development, last summer (the emails leaked as part of a huge hack last month). Conway says explicitly in the email that the department’s counter-terrorism bureau “utilized 1505 funds for a pilot Drone program that operates within the parameters of current laws.”

Those 1505 funds are forfeiture proceeds: assets seized during criminal investigations. As such, that cash is not included in the police department’s official budget and is, for all intents and purposes, untraceable. Unless you’re willing to put that information in an email, apparently.

The Chicago Police says its secret drone program was limited in use to take crime scene photos and work on terrorism-related investigations. These cases are both allowed by Chicago law, despite the city’s drone restrictions being generally tight.

And yet the department still hid its drone program, going as far as to use that off-the-books cash — at least $26,000 of it, according to the leaked emails.

As a general rule, people don’t hide the things they should be doing.

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