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Proceeds of crime help rural police coffers

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Cash from crooks will see nearly $120,000 go to police in Morden, Winkler and Altona, Justice Minister Andrew Swan said today.

The funds come from the province's criminal property forfeiture program with half of the $120,000 to be used to outfit a new, dedicated vehicle for the K9 unit in Morden, which also provides its services to neighbouring communities.

The purchase will help to improve response times and increase the likelihood of a successful police operation, Swan said. The K9 unit was first established in Morden in 2010 to help track suspects and locate illegal drugs.

"No community is immune to the effects of crime," Swan said. "It's important to invest in specialized equipment across the province and expand the tools available to law enforcement agencies to uphold the law and keep residents safe."

The Altona Police Service has received more than $44,700 to purchase a new digital fingerprinting system that will provide nearly instant results, Swan said. The previous method of checking fingerprints could take up to 120 days for routine, non-criminal matters. The system can also be accessed by law enforcement agencies in other communities including Winkler and Morden and the rural municipalities of Rhineland and Montcalm.

The Winkler Police Agency will upgrade 10 FleetNet radios to allow the use of an encrypted radio channel with a grant of over $15,000. The new system will improve officer safety and the overall success of police operations when executing search warrants because suspects and other members of the public will be unable to pick up police information on scanners.

Since the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act was put in place in 2010, more than $5 million in assets has been forfeited to the province. More forfeiture proceedings are in process, with more than 200 files being pursued involving vehicles, houses, rural properties and cash.

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