Heroin busts could finance police construction in Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. -- Call it a drug money makeover. Snohomish Police Chief John Flood has a plan to update his department's headquarters -- without costing taxpayers a dime.

Right now the 21 member force operates out of a former bank, but the building leaves them feeling short-changed. Flood wants to use nearly $100,000 seized during recent drug investigations to pay for the remodel.

"This was money that was taken from illegal activity in our community that we can now put back to use in our police department," Flood said.

Floor plans are still being drawn up, but the chief has several changes he would like to make. Topping the list is a larger space for officers to file reports free from disturbances.

Flood also wants to separate the suspect interview room from where drunk drivers get processed, or possibly build a second one. He still has no idea what to do with the former bank vault and its solid metal door.

"They can't actually take (the door) over this floor. It would cave in," Flood said.

Most of the money comes from a string of federal heroin raids in and around Snohomish. Ultimately the suspects were unable to prove they obtained the cash legally, allowing police to go through the process to seize it, the chief said.

"I'm grateful for the fact that we were able to take those monies from those drug dealers and convert it to a good public use that in turn will benefit the community," Flood said.

The seized drug money has to be used for police operations and cannot be dumped into the city's general fund. The chief hopes to present a plan to city council in about a month. If approved, construction could start this spring.

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