Cincinnati internal audit finds discrepancies at police impound lot

CINCINNATI - An internal audit found the city impound lot is in great need of a recordkeeping overhaul and that thousands of dollars might be unaccounted for.

The Impound Unit Audit conducted by the city’s citizen complaint and internal audit division discovered numerous internal control deficiencies that hinder the accurate management of cash and vehicle inventory.

The reason: A lack of computer-generated records and trained personnel.

“IA [Internal Audit] found several internal control weaknesses that prevent proper management of cash and inventory,” the audit read in part. “… Overall, implementing tighter controls over cash handling, record keeping, and inventory tracking would ensure that documentation is accurate, reliable, and readily available.

The impound unit collected $1.8 million last year and sold approximately 931 vehicles at auction, but auditors found a discrepancy in the amount of reported revenue from the vehicle auction. In 2012, the CPD impound unit created an Annual Intake spreadsheet to track revenues and funds paid to tow companies, according to the audit.

The auction generated $775,150 in 2012. To validate the amount, IA obtained a copy of the 2012 revenue detail report and found the revenue collected from the police auction as $763,200, or $11,950 less than the amount reported, according to the audit. IA also found some of the vehicles were missing.

“Checks and balances have always been in place at the Impound Lot,” said City Manager Milton Dohoney in a prepared statement. “This audit was conducted at the request of management to improve processes and identify necessary improvements. It has done that. Plans are in motion to implement many of the audit’s recommendations. Several recommendations have already been implemented as reflected in the Police Department’s response."

A management decision was made in 2012 to replace the uniformed supervisor position with a civilian. A civilian supervisor oversees current Impound Unit operations with approximately eight full-time employees and one part-time employee, according to the audit.

The audit listed nearly two dozen examples of mismanagement, including a cash register that doesn’t work properly.

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