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Audit reveals disorganized LAPD spending

December 14, 2009 12:05:49 AM PST
Millions of dollars' worth of explosives and ammunition were purchased by the Los Angeles Police Department, and there's no accounting for how the money was spent, according to a new audit.An internal audit found the way the LAPD buys things like guns and bullets has been inadequate. The police department has budget problems but had sloppy to nonexistent controls over the way it buys supplies, from tear-gas bombs to uniforms.

The audit was ordered by former Chief William Bratton and his successor, Chief Charlie Beck. Among other findings: There were no receipt confirmations on 56 percent of LAPD purchases. That raises the potential for inaccurate or unauthorized billings.

"These are very tough financial times," said Beck Monday. "And I want to make sure every dime that the city gives is spent not only properly but effectively."

The chief admits they don't know now if there has been any money lost or if anything was overpaid.

Ammunition and tear-gas bombs alone are more than $2.3 million of the department's operating expenditures. The department purchases more than $60 million a year in total, and most of it without competitive bids.

Only 16 percent of the department's purchases were done by required competitive bidding.

That means 84 percent of LAPD purchases did not have the required competitive bids.

More than 10 percent of purchases had no prior authorization.

Fifty-six percent of purchases, totaling $2.6 million, did not have verification of delivery.

Beck insists it's just bad bookkeeping and he's ordered the department to come up with a manual and training program so everyone is on the same page with purchases.

"There's no indication that this money has been wasted or squandered, it just hasn't been tracked appropriately," said Beck. "And we're going to fix that."

Beck said he's already begun to fix things as a result of the very critical audit of LAPD purchases and how they have been handed out.

"I've completely restructured the police department and changed where our fiscal operations go to, changed the persons that they report, made it a direct report to me," said Beck.

The audit says some purchases have been paid for by LAPD employees, because they were unauthorized.

The Los Angeles Police Commission will discuss the audit Tuesday. Beck promises he will present even more solutions to the situation.