State Treasurer Riley Moore today announced his Office’s recent record-breaking unclaimed property firearms auction raised more than $17,400 total for the Beckley Police Department and Raleigh County Sheriff's Office – funds that can now be used to improve safety and law enforcement efforts in the local community.
“It’s an honor to conduct our annual unclaimed property firearms auction to raise money for the brave men and women across West Virginia who risk their lives to keep our communities safe,” Treasurer Moore said. “This year's auction raised a record amount of funds that police departments can use to invest in new equipment, facilities and training programs they need to protect and serve our citizens.”
Treasurer Moore said Beckley Police Department will receive $11,857.50 and Raleigh County Sheriff’s Office will receive $5,571 from the most recent auction that occurred on March 16 in Charleston.
“Officer safety is of utmost importance, and other than maybe a firearm, I can’t think of a single piece of equipment that is more valuable to ensuring our officers return home to their families each day,” Beckley Police Chief Dean Bailey said. “Taking these unused firearms and providing additional protection for my officers would not be possible without this partnership with the State Treasurer’s Office through the unclaimed property firearms auction.”
“For years, the Raleigh County Sheriff's Office has participated with the State Treasurer’s Office and the Unclaimed Property Firearms Auction Program,” Raleigh County Sheriff James Canaday said. “This program allows for a safe and ethical disposal of unclaimed property and firearms, as well as providing an efficient evidence management tool.”
The auction raised a record total of more than $141,000 to benefit the 15 law enforcement agencies that participated in the auction. The auction raises funds by selling outdated, unclaimed or old firearms, ammunition and related accessories in police inventory to qualified bidders.
This year’s event raised a record amount of funds due to having its largest inventory up for bid – approximately 600 firearms lots and 47 accessories and ammunition lots available at the auction.
Under West Virginia’s Unclaimed Property Code (Chapter 36, Article 8A), state and local law enforcement agencies are allowed to turn over any unclaimed, seized or outdated firearms in their possession to the State Treasurer’s Office for auction.
These include weapons that are older and no longer used by a department, or that have been seized as evidence and sitting in storage rooms for an extended amount of time following the disposition of a case. They can also include weapons taken from individuals who are not legally allowed to own firearms.
Once law enforcement certifies they cannot find a lawful owner of the firearms, they can be turned over to the Treasurer’s Office for auction.
The proceeds from the auction are then returned to the submitting agency for use.