New Castle County approves unique allocation of SLEAF funds
New Castle County Council voted earlier this week for a unique allocation of SLEAF dollars.
SLEAF – Special Law Enforcement Assistance Fund – dollars are normally used for technology purposes in New Castle County. But Tuesday night the council, after consulting with New Castle County police, decided some of the funds should be allocated elsewhere.
“As the Colonel mentioned this afternoon that with the commitment that other law enforcement agencies have made – and working closely with the City of Wilmington – that the chiefs have met and agreed that this funding could also be used to reimburse a portion of the overtime that’s being expended by law enforcement agencies," Bell said.
That was Councilman Bill Bell, co-sponsor of the resolution spending a little over $20,000 on overtime accrued by New Castle County officers patrolling in Wilmington to help address hot spots there.
Additionally, New Castle County police asked for several acres of land surrounding its headquarters to be purchased for security purposes, but not with SLEAF funds.
State lawmakers are considering legislation to mandate better oversight of SLEAF funds, which accumulate when cash and items are confiscated by police.
Councilman George Smiley says he generally supports that bill, but has concerns it will send SLEAF money to the state’s general fund to help balance Delaware’s budget, rather than distribute it to each county.
“I also agree that there needs to be oversight somewhere with how the funds are distributed. But in my time on council," Smiley said. "I can tell you that the SLEAF funds that New Castle County police have gotten – have been reduced to writing. They’ve been in a resolution, they’ve come before council, we’ve discussed in committee, they’ve been brought to the floor of this chamber for discussion, publicly voted on, and publicly on the record.”
There has been recent scrutiny of Delaware’s use of SLEAF funds, which are not subject to public disclosure like in other states.