Audit reveals improper vehicle use, nepotism in Wartburg PD

Audit reveals improper vehicle use, nepotism in Wartburg Police Department

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WARTBURG (WATE) - An audit by the state comptroller's office discovered improper use of a confiscated vehicle and nepotism within the Wartburg Police Department.

According to the audit, a 1999 BMW sedan was seized during a narcotics arrest on June 6, 2011 and was subsequently titled to the City of Wartburg.

The vehicle was assigned to the police captain's wife, who is also a reserve officer, and sometimes used for non-drug enforcement related purposes.

The captain advised he was in charged of all seized vehicles for the department, and that it was the custom to promptly sell seized vehicles. The vehicle was not sold until March 12, 2013.

The captain's wife said she primarily used the vehicle for fundraising and the purchase of supplies, but also occasionally used the vehicle to commute to her full-time job when she was volunteering her evenings at the Wartburg Police Department.

She also said she would sometimes buy gas for the vehicle from personal funds or use another officer's fuel purchase card to buy fuel.

Tennessee Code requires the use of a sized vehicle to be used only for the city's drug enforcement program.

The audit also found that the police department violated the city's nepotism policy by allowing the police chief to directly supervise the police captain, who is also his son.

The captain supervised all other members of the department, including his wife who is a reserve officer.

The city's nepotism policy states that relatives cannot be in a position where one would have the authority to directly supervise, appoint, remove, discipline or evaluate the performance of another.

The comptroller's office recommended that the police department take steps to abide by its nepotism policy.

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