By Rachel Lippmann
St. Louis – The state's top accountant has issued a blistering review of the board that oversees the St. Louis police department.
Governor Matt Blunt demanded the audit of the Board of Police Commissioners in 2008 after news reports that St. Louis Metropolitan Towing, which had an exclusive city contract, shortchanged the city of nearly $700,000 in two years because of poor oversight.
That was one of the 15 areas auditor Susan Montee addressed in the 50-page document released Tuesday. The department comes under fire for a broad range of issues, including the use of department credit cards, travel expenditures, contract and bidding practices, and oversight of money seized as evidence in crimes.
The department is also sharply criticized for its past acceptance of tickets to St. Louis Cardinals baseball games, valued at $1,900. The audit notes the practice may have violated a state law that prohibits police officers from being compensated for service without the consent of the Police Board.
In its response, the Department acknowledged the existence of "inadequate, ineffective and inefficient business practices in various areas of the department that led to extreme failures," but said it has taken steps to correct the problems mentioned.
>> Read the audit (PDF Document)
>> Read the department's response (PDF Document)