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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 2:23 pm

$500M Google forfeiture helps fund RI police

By MICHELLE R. SMITHAssociated Press

Five Rhode Island law enforcement agencies are faced with an enviable problem: what to do with $230 million forfeited by Google?

Investigators from the Rhode Island attorney general's office, state police, National Guard and North Providence and East Providence police are entitled to the money. The agencies had helped a federal investigation into Google's distribution of ads for illegal prescription drug sales.

The agencies have so far committed tens of millions in Google money to better fund police pensions, buy new cars and upgrade technology, but they say they're still working out how to spend well over $100 million that's left.

North Providence police were entitled to $60 million, 10 times the agency's annual budget. Chief Paul Martellini calls the amount extraordinary and says it's helping them improve service to the public.