Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Auditor finds fault with sheriff’s helicopter

A representative of the Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector’s Office said  Monday a helicopter purchased by the Stephens County Sheriff’s Office wasn’t properly approved by the county commissioners and wasn’t insured for six months.

Sherri Wooldridge of the state auditor’s office hosted a conference about the annual county audit of fiscal years ending June 30, 2012, and June 30, 2013, during a meeting of the county commissioners.

The Stephens County Sheriff’s Office acquired the helicopter from the Law Enforcement Support Office, a program through the Department of Defense which provides property to law enforcement agencies.

County Clerk Cindy Kaiser said there was a one-time fee of $5,000 to transfer the title of the helicopter to the county and approval by the county commissioners is required by state statute.

Kaiser said the helicopter was uninsured from November, 2013, until April, 2014.

A vendor also donated a paint job for the helicopter, which wasn’t officially received by the commissioners, she said.

“All money is county money,” Kaiser said.

Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney, who said the helicopter is used for fighting wildfires, search-and-rescue missions and other support services, said  he was unaware he needed to have the use of $5,000 approved by the commissioners.

“We didn’t purchase it,” he said. “I was told I could spend my funds if it didn’t come from the general fund.”

Kaiser said the audit also indicated 32 purchase orders totaling $287,000 weren’t encumbered prior to receiving goods and services, and the county will take measures to correct the problem.

Undersheriff John Smith said, partly because the sheriff’s office sends juvenile offenders to facilities in other counties and a high turnover rate, his office has trouble keeping track of the juveniles in custody from month-to-month.

“We were instructed we could pay when we got the bill,” Smith said.

Source:    http://www.duncanbanner.com

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