Tennessee Comptrollers Find Fault Yet Again with How Law Enforcement Handles Drug Enforcement Funds

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Tennessee Comptrollers have called out law enforcement officers for yet again mismanaging money in their drug enforcement fund, this time in Tellico Plains in East Tennessee.

This, according to an audit Comptrollers released this week.

No one at the Tellico Plains’ police office or the mayor’s office was available to talk to The Tennessee Star Friday.

“We noted during our audit, instances in which seized monies were never being deposited with the bank, confidential funds were not being documented and accounted for as required with State guidelines and items obtained from State Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) Program appeared to not be used for a specified police purpose,” auditors wrote in one finding.

“Seized monies should be deposited in a timely manner; appropriate guidelines should be followed for confidential funds and LESO Program items should only be requested for a specified police purpose.”

Town officials also broke state law by spending more money in drug enforcement appropriations than they had, Comptrollers wrote.

As The Star reported this month, agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation obtained an indictment for former Tellico Plains police chief James Russell Parks Jr. Authorities accuse Parks of misconduct and sexual impropriety.

As The Star has reported, this is not the first time authorities have accused Tennessee law enforcement officers of improprieties involving a local drug fund or seized evidence related to alleged drug crimes.

As reported last year, officials in the town of Whiteville allegedly paid $9,230 from the drug fund and bought office furniture and wiring for the new city hall building.

As reported in February, Tennessee Comptrollers called out officials in Sullivan County for keeping seized property a lot longer than they should have.

• As The Tennessee Star reported, Humphreys County Sheriff’s officers took more than $16,000 in money from their Drug Control Fund and used it to pay for things they weren’t legally allowed to, according to one recent audit.

As reported in April, Gibson’s former police chief failed to obtain a forfeiture warrant and failed to list the legal and factual basis that made the vehicle subject to forfeiture, signed by a judge. They also failed to file seizure forms with the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and negotiate and enter settlement agreements for the return of the vehicles to the owners, according to a state audit.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Tellico Plains Police Car” by Tellico Plains Police Department

 

 

 

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