April 4, 2022

Guidance for Police Donations to Ukraine

Law enforcement agencies across the commonwealth have been asked to donate helmets, ballistic vests, tourniquets, and first aid supplies to the war efforts in Ukraine. The Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police recently distributed information on two retired Kentucky police chiefs working to equip local police in Ukraine with these life-saving items. KLC wants to remind members who intend to donate to the effort of the process outlined in KRS 82.083(4) for legally disposing of surplus government property.

The statute allows for certain methods of disposal. They are as follows:

  • (a) Transferred, with or without compensation, to another governmental agency;
  • (b) Transferred, with or without compensation, for economic development purposes, which shall include but not be limited to real property transfers for the elimination of blight;
  • (c) Sold at public auction following publication of the auction in accordance with KRS 424.130(1)(b);
  • (d) Sold by electronic auction following publication of the auction, including the uniform resource link (URL) for the site of the electronic auction, in accordance with KRS 424.130(1)(b);
  • (e) Sold by sealed bids in accordance with the procedure for sealed bids under KRS 45A.365(3) and (4);
  • (f) Traded towards the purchase of the same or similar type of property if the trade-in value received equals or exceeds the actual fair market value of the property as determined using an independent appraisal as defined in subsection (1) of this section;
  • (g) Sold for its appraised fair market value or a greater amount if the property is valued at five thousand dollars ($5,000) or less in an independent appraisal. Property sold under this paragraph may not be sold to a city officer or employee or family member of a city officer or employee as defined in the city's ethics ordinance adopted under KRS 65.003;
  • (h) Sold for scrap or disposed of as garbage in a manner consistent with the public interest if the property has no value or is of nominal value as determined by an independent appraisal; or
  • (i) Sold by the Finance and Administration Cabinet under an agreement with the city.

It is important to note that KRS 82.105(3) defines “governmental agency” as the commonwealth, the United States, or any division, department, agency, or instrumentality of either of them, including agencies and instrumentalities in corporate form, whether created by legislative enactment or organized as nonprofit corporations under general corporation laws for the purpose of serving as agencies or instrumentalities of either of them. This definition does not include a foreign governmental agency. Therefore, a city could not directly transfer surplus personal property directly to a foreign government pursuant to KRS 82.083(4)(a).

This statutory process applies even to helmets, ballistic vests, and other expired items. If the public agency feels the expired items have no value, they still must get a determination from an independent appraisal that the items have no value pursuant to KRS 82.083(4)(h).

An independent appraisal is defined as:

  • (a) An individual or organization not affiliated with the city or its officers or employees, using a generally accepted national or professional standard; or
  • (b) A city's officers or employees using a nationally published valuation of property based on the most recent edition of the publication. See KRS 82.083(1).

If, after an independent appraisal, it is determined that the items have nominal or no value, the city may then follow the process in KRS 82.083(3) to donate the vests.

Before selling or otherwise disposing of any real or personal property, the city shall make a written determination setting forth and fully describing:

  • (a) The real or personal property;
  • (b) Its intended use at the time of acquisition;
  • (c) The reasons why it is in the public interest to dispose of it; and
  • (d) The method of disposition to be used. See KRS 82.083(3).

If the city chooses to auction the items by public auction or sealed bids and receives no bids, they may follow KRS 82.083(5) and dispose of the property in any manner deemed appropriate by the city, consistent with public interest. In those instances, a written description of the property, the method of disposal, and the amount of compensation, if any, shall be made by the legislative body.

Another thing to consider is how you purchased the items. If you bought them with federal dollars or through other grant opportunities, there might be restrictions on disposal. Please consult with your city attorney in reviewing any grant restrictions associated with the disposal of the equipment.

Cities seeking more information about the project to assist with the war effort in Ukraine can check the KACP webpage or Facebook page.

If you would like to reach out to the chiefs with questions or donations, you can contact them directly:

Chief Bryan Carter
(859) 835-4775

Chief Mike Ward
(859) 991-0666

Please contact the KLC Department of Municipal Law with any legal questions about this or any other issue.