The Oklahoma City Police Department’s property and evidence room will have more eyes on it after the city’s auditor released an investigation and recommendation report. The audit was requested after thousands of dollars in money was unaccounted.
Department officials said the missing money did not result in any misconduct or criminal charges, but it changed the way transactions are made and evidence is booked into the property room.
“This is something we sought out as a police department,” said Capt. Larry Withrow, Oklahoma City Police Department. “This wasn’t something that was sprung on us or a surprise.”
Withrow said the department's former chief requested the audit after an employee discovered the property room was missing $26,000.
Oklahoma City's Auditor Jim Williamson stepped in to investigate the discrepancies. The audit covered a 15-year time span, going back to 2003 to 2018.
“We did an inventory over there,” Williamson. “And couldn’t find $10,000 and there were $16,000 that was checked out to the district attorney’s office without a signature.”
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said he told auditors that “he had no documentation and could not establish that money actually made it to the DA's office."
Williamson recommended the department make a number of changes to prevent unaccounted funds in the future. A 32-page report outlines the recommendations.
“Things like having two people count the cash,” said Williamson. “Cameras, segregating authority over cash custody and record keeping, who has authority to delete records.”
Police officials said some of the recommendations were immediately corrected or implemented, on top of the internal audits they already do.
“There are regular audits done when there’s a change of command in the lieutenant or captain over the property room,” said Withrow.
The city auditor has been told all the recommended changes will be completed by June 30.