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Seizure and Forfeiture by Columbus Police

The Columbus Police Division issued a three-page directive explaining the standard operating procedures for seizures and forfeitures by law enforcement officers. Directive 6.03 on seizures and forfeitures became effective on July 15, 2012, and was last revised on September 30, 2019.

The requirements for the seizure/forfeiture of property by law enforcement officers at the Columbus Police Station follow Ohio’s forfeiture statutes and Directive 6.03.

Ohio’s forfeiture laws permit a law enforcement officer to seize property for forfeiture if the officer has probable cause to believe the property is subject to forfeiture and officers can demonstrate that the property was:

  • acquired when there is no likely source for the interest in the property other than as proceeds derived from or acquired through the commission of an offense;
  • acquired during the commission of the offense or a reasonable time afterward;
  • used or intended to be used in the commission or facilitation of the felony offense or misdemeanor drug offense when forfeiture is specifically authorized by a section of the ORC;
  • contraband involved in a criminal offense.

All seizure and forfeiture actions involving law enforcement officers with the Columbus Police Department must follow the state seizure and forfeiture process unless the seizure is within the scope of an existing federal investigation. In some cases, a federal agency might adopt the seized property for forfeiture.

Any property subject to seizure/forfeiture by the Columbus Police Department must be submitted to the Property Control Unit (PCU) or the Police Impound Lot after notification is provided to the Seizure/Forfeiture Unit.

Attorney for Seizure and Forfeitures in Columbus, OH

If your money, vehicle, or other property was seized by the Columbus Police Division, then contact an experienced criminal and civil asset forfeiture attorney at Joslyn Law Firm.

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm help clients fight seizures and forfeitures by the Columbus Police Division.  We understand the standard operating procedures for seizures and forfeitures by law enforcement officers in Columbus, OH.

Whether the case will be prosecuted in state court or whether a federal agency adopts the forfeiture, then we can help.

Call (614) 444-1900 today.


Procedures for Forfeiture Actions in Columbus, OH

According to Directive 6.03 of the Columbus Police Department, forfeiture proceedings are limited to seized assets or cash valued at $1,000 or more. Upon initiating the seizure of any such assets, the office must notify a supervisor.

If the seizure is approved by the supervisor, then the officer must submit all seized property to the Property Control Unit (PCU) or the Police Impound Lot.

The officer that seized the asset must then complete and forward a Seizure/Forfeiture Notice & Receipt with a copy of the Arrest Information, form U-10.100, or an electronic incident report to the Seizure/Forfeiture Unit before the end of their tour of duty. A copy of the Seizure/Forfeiture Notice & Receipt must be included in the felony packet.

The officer must check Box 104 for “Requesting Forfeiture” on the Arrest Information form and include the following statements in the first paragraph of the narrative: “Property seized as evidence, held under ORC 2981, et al.: Property subject to forfeiture under ORC 2981, et al.,” and provide specific details for how the seizure complies with this law. Information about the seizure must also be included on the Criminal Investigation Summary, form I-20.125, if applicable.

Within 14 days of the initial seizure, the officer that seized the money or property must send any additional paperwork to the Seizure/Forfeiture Unit.

Any requests to forfeit assets is processed by the Seizure/Forfeiture Unit in a timely manner according to the ORC. Priority is given to felony cases. Any officer with the Columbus Police Department who seizes money or property for forfeiture must immediately notify the Public Accountability Subdivision Deputy Chief and appropriate county prosecutor’s office of all Division-related federal seizure/forfeiture actions.

After the Public Accountability Subdivision Deputy Chief is notified of the Division’s involvement in a federal seizure/ forfeiture action, the Deputy chief must seek input from the chain of command of the officer/unit involved in the action, the Seizure/Forfeiture Unit, and the Legal Advisor’s Office.

The Deputy Chief will approve or disapprove taking the action to the federal level in accordance with the ORC and Division policy.

When officers with the Columbus Police Department seize a vehicle for forfeiture, they must complete an Impounded Vehicle Inventory, form A-32.107, and follow the “Impounding and Towing” directive. Any evidence found in the vehicle must be submitted to the Property Control Unit (PCU).

The procedures outlined in Section III-A-1 of Directive 6.03 must be used for any vehicle or property that is to be submitted to the court for forfeiture. Vehicles being submitted to the court for forfeiture must be placed in a “hold” status in the electronic impounding system.


This article was last updated on Friday, April 9, 2021.

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