Town of Newburgh Police had inadequate records to account for property, state audit finds


ALBANY – An audit of the Town of Newburgh Police Department’s handling of evidence in its possession – firearms, drug items, vehicles, and other personal items, found that the department did not account for property room inventory adequately due to inaccurate records.
The state comptroller’s office audit conducted for the period January 1, 2012 through September 26, 2013, found that of 376 high-risk property items held by the department that were tested, 265 items, or 70 percent, were not in the correct location, and of those, 51 items, or 14 percent, were unaccounted for and missing from inventory, with no documentation to indicate their disposition. The missing items included 17 money items totaling over $63,400, 23 drug items, six firearms, four vehicles and one washer of an unidentified type.
The town has some 92,000 items in the department’s possession.
The auditors’ recommendations included reviewing and updating property room policies and procedures annually; monitoring the activity in the property room including the assignment of physical inventory testing to an individual who does not retain item custody; conducting routine and unannounced inspections of the property room to ensure it is following policies and procedures; assigning software user access based on job duties and responsibilities; reviewing and updating the drug and firearm destruction policy to ensure that the identification officer prepares and retains detailed records identifying the items being destroyed; and continuing to improve the inventory tracking and disposal process by clearly documenting property movement to provide an audit trail.
The town’s response dated August 12, 2014 and signed by Acting Town Supervisor Gilbert Piaquadio and Police Chief Michael Clancy, said department personnel spot-checked certain property after reviewing the state’s draft report, and “found that there were discrepancies in some paperwork but that the property in each case we examined was located.”
The officials also said they were examining mentioned departmental policies that were found to be defective in some ways and were already examining the policies related to evidence and property.
“We’d like to note, however, that the department went through the New York State DCJS process for receiving accreditation in 2010 and 2011,” Piaquadio and Clancy wrote. “During that time, all our policies were examined by the Law Enforcement Accreditation Council. Any recommendations the council made were followed and some policies were modified.” Several new policies were also developed to meet the accreditation standards, the town officials said. 

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