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CHRISTIAN SAYS POLICE NOW HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY

March 5, 2002 – Police Commissioner Franz Christian says many of the problems noted in a federal government audit report on the administrative functions of his department have been, or are being, corrected.
Christian's comments followed media reports on an Interior Department audit that was critical of certain Police Department operations. (See "Audit reveals same problems, different years".)
Among other things, the audit repord said that firearms issued to police officers were unaccounted for and that four of the missing weapons were recovered after being used in the commission of crimes.
Christian said the Police Department is reorganizing the way it accounts for such equipment. "We are reconstructing the property room and establishing a system to track such items as police handguns," he said.
He said corrective measures were implemented as soon as the auditors found weaknesses in the system. He also said that while he welcomed the federal audit, he believes it should have noted "the positive things the department is doing to correct the problems."
According to the report, the audit found instances where police officers had left the force without turning in their weapons, badges and other equipment.
Christian said there is now a procedure for recovering equipment when officers leave the force. "The individual starts at the zone, goes to the chief's office, then goes to Property and Supply and turns in all equipment," he said. "As the equipment is turned in, he receives a receipt for the item returned." At either the chief's office or the commissioner's office, officials sign off as having received the items from the officer parting with the department.
Now, he said, "We have a clear record of what has been issued and what is returned when an officer leaves his employment with the agency."
Christian admitted there have been problems with the system but said the situation is greatly improved. "It is much better than it was before," he said, "although there is always room for improvement." He said he wanted to assure the community that corrective measures are in place to avoid a repeat of the audit findings.
The Interior Department audit covered a period that preceded the current police administration. Christian said it has been the responsibility of the current team to set matters straight.

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