The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is requesting reimbursement after Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway used federal funds to purchase a Dodge Charger Hellcat SRT.
The DOJ approved nearly $70,000 of asset forfeiture funds through an equitable sharing program to support the Sheriff’s Office, but according to a letter from the DOJ obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Charger Hellcat is considered an extravagant expenditure because it is not typically part of a law enforcement fleet. Per the letter, the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office is not eligible to request or receive any more asset forfeiture funds until the DOJ Is reimbursed for the Hellcat. A July 31 deadline was given.
A spokeswoman for the Sheriff’s Office told the Gwinnett Daily Post that, when the funds were approved, there was no indication that the new vehicle would be a concern until a local reporter brought the vehicle to attention of the DOJ. She also noted the vehicle will be used in Beat the Heat, a nonprofit where police officers and firefighters race vehicles. The Charger Hellcat is now the main photo on the county’s Beat the Heat website.
A county spokesman told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the county would add review points in its purchasing process to ensure any assets purchased with federal funds meet guidelines.