The State Auditor released the Oklahoma County Sheriff Turnover report, Friday afternoon.
The report reveals that there were inadequate internal controls and non-compliance over fixed assets in the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s office inventory. Of the 7,844 items listed, 3,041 items could not be located or reviewed in any manner. The items that could be located had a total cost of $16,588,988.97. The items that were unable to be located or verified had a total cost $3,362,003.45.
The report states that 308 items, which total $141,967.03, were disposed of but never removed from inventory. The report states the sheriff’s office did not follow the proper disposal process which requires the Board of County Commissioners approval for removal as outlined by state law. Thirty-one computers could not be located for physical inspection and 18 vehicles totaling $258,982.21 were not able to be located. Auditors were told that those vehicles were disposed of by the sheriff’s office, but the report states that the supporting documentation for those vehicles being removed from inventory was not provided.
Five vehicles totaling more than $38,704.00 listed on the inventory list obtained from the county clerk could not be located as no record of documentation existed with the sheriff’s office. The auditor’s office was also unable to locate 23 firearms on file and discovered the sheriff’s office does not maintain a log of all county-owned firearms and to whom this equipment is assigned.
The audit also found inadequate internal controls and non-compliance over consumable inventories, including things like dry goods, razors, floor squeegees, push broom handles, house brooms, jumbo toilet rolls, deodorant soap, baker boxes, boxers, mop handles and women’s underwear.
The board states there is a lack of oversight over the safeguarding of the consumable inventory. And that personnel had unlimited access with no supervision.
A response from Interim Sheriff P.D. Taylor was included in the report. It states:
This audit brought many things to light as it relates to processes and procedures regarding inventory and its tracking and disposition. Through the years, due to staffing issues across the agency, Sheriff Whetsel felt the need to reduce the property division from six employees to three. This move placed a strain on the property division to maintain adequate controls and records for the agency. Since March 2, 2017, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) has added two additional staff in the property division.
This process also brought to light that the property supervisor had some confusion on how to properly complete the paperwork necessary to dispose of property where it would be removed from inventory. A new supervisor has been installed over the area, and training opportunities are being identified to educate personnel on all facets of property acquisition and disposal as controls and procedures are being reinstituted.
The OCSO is also in the process of identifying a member from every division to be assigned as an Inventory Officer to aid in the continual and annual accounting of inventory. This process will ensure a more accurate and seamless tracking of inventory throughout the agency without overloading any one specific division. Procedures are also being developed wherein internal purchase requisitions will be required to pass through property prior to submission to the finance division to aid in accountability and awareness of inventory needs.
It is the intent of the agency at the conclusion of this audit to review the accurate inventory list and remove those items that have been previously disposed, identify those items needing disposal and correcting the inventory list to match those items on hand. This will give the agency a fresh start from an inventory perspective from the previous 2 administrations spanning the last 37 years where this particular area may not have received the appropriate level of attention.
A statement was also released by Mike Christian a Republican candidate for the sheriff position:
"This is the second audit confirming what I have been saying for months: the Whetsel Administration grossly mismanages public funds and equipment. Now we are learning that guns and other weapons are missing, creating a public safety risk.
It is time for fresh new leadership in the Sheriff's office. The Acting Sheriff has been second in command for over a decade, making him part of the very problem I am trying to solve. It's time for a change."
There are are four other candidates running for the sheriff position and News 9 has yet to hear from them at this time.
News 9 will be speaking with Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector, Gary Jones, Friday afternoon. More details tonight at 5 p.m.