About the series
Research for this series began last year after The Kansas City Star printed stories showing that police in Missouri had found a way to keep millions of dollars in drug money seizures. Under state law, money seized in drug busts is supposed to go to public education, but Missouri police often handed the money to federal agencies, which kept 20 percent and passed the rest back to police.
Reporter Karen Dillon then studied constitutions and forfeiture laws in all 50 states, as well as thousands of pages of federal and state forfeiture policies, police documents, court cases, the Congressional Record and committee testimony.
In order to gauge what police were doing nationwide, Dillon focused on 30 states, which she chose based largely on the diversity of their laws and geography. Dillon then conducted hundreds of interviews with legal experts and law enforcement officials at federal, state and local levels.
About the staff
Karen Dillon, 48, is an investigative projects reporter who has worked at The Kansas City Star since 1991. She was one of three reporters who won a George Polk Award in 1998 for a series of stories on the NCAA. To contact her, call (816) 234-4430 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin Anderson, 42, shot the photographs. He has been with The Star for 13 years and has worked on several other projects, including "Divided We Sprawl."
The series was designed by Greg Farmer, assistant managing editor/universal desk. Gentry Mullen designed the graphics.
The series was edited by Craig Nienaber, projects editor. Patricia Hardin was the copy editor.