Sutton PD Accused of Misusing Funds
Sutton Police Department is facing scrutiny after an auditor claims some funding has been misused.
Eighteen pages of accusations toward the SPD remain under investigation. A recent audit investigating payments from October 2009 to August 2012 shows alleged misuse of funding.
"It doesn't surprise me. We do see this kind of thing more often then we'd like to see it, " said Mike Foley, state auditor for Nebraska.
It is funding that belongs to you, and Foley says stealing from your town is wrong.
"There should be no personal use of city funds. City funds are there because they came out the pocket of taxpayers, and should only be used for city government purposes... not for personal use," said Foley.
The audit shows over $1,000 spent by the department on personal guns and accessories. Purchases are listed under the name Tracey Landenberger, who serves as the police chief for Sutton.
"Granted its going to pop up in my name because I'm the chief, and because I'm in charge; that's understandable," said Landenberger.
Close to $900 was spent on food purchases in which Landenberger claims it was appropriate to buy for various trainings. The costs for food and gun supplies, although, will not be changing.
"Purchase of food products and ammo [is] going to continue to happen. We bought the ammo through the city, which was [approved], and any purchase we buy is approved by the city. Everything was OK'd in this department," said Landenberger.
Gas purchases and company cell phone abuse was also found during the audit. Some of that ends up being detrimental to the taxpayers in Sutton.
"We've identified quite a number of expenditures, and it paints a very damaging picture of what happened in Sutton," said Foley.
Landenberger says he was never aware of the misuse he was doing.
"We weren't aware that you couldn't do it, and neither was the city. If we go back [to previous years], you would see the same issues back then," said Landenberger.
The audit stems after a "disgruntled" employee resigned from SPD. State officials also take a blame saying all of this is coming up now because it was hard to keep up with the department's records.
"We've done our best to try and separate it, but this co-mingling makes it very difficult to unravel once its occurred because the record keeping is inadequate," said Foley.
"None of this came up until after the former employee resigned from this department," said Landenberger.