Without actually criticizing procedures for handling assets seized in drug-related arrests, auditors told Juab County commissioners this week that county officials should keep more detailed records in the future.
The commissioners asked the Provo auditing firm of Hawkins, Borup and Cloward to design a plan for dealing with seized assets after Commissioner Richard Brough raised questions about current procedures.However, auditors found no wrongdoing and merely suggested ways the seized assets could be better documented in the future. The policy designed by the auditing firm was accepted by commissioners as policy.
Auditors Denton Alexander and Dave Cloward explained to commissioners that the monitoring of seized assets is relatively new and procedures are still evolving. The problem of drug-related seizures has reached a high point only in the past coupleof years, he said, with the acceleration of drug arrests in the state.
Alexander said the county sheriff records of destroyed controlled substances were not sufficiently detailed. "We recommend (detailing) every instance of controlled substances destroyed, with specific reference to the cases involved. This rec-ord would be attested to by at least two of the officers involved and pres-ent at the site of the destruction."
Types and quantities of drugs destroyed needed to be filed with the cases, he said.
Juab County Sheriff Dave Carter said the controlled substances destroyed actually came before the dates of the random sample.
Carter did keep records, but they were not detailed enough to please auditors, he said. "We do have documentation," he said.
Alexander prepared a form for use by the county in keeping track of the seized assets. The form will help establish a clear audit trail, said Alexander. Seized assets in the county, including those transferred to the county by the Utah Highway Patrol, should be recorded on a form.
As a result of the testing, said Alexander, "nothing came to our attention to indicate inappropriate handling of the related assets. For each asset selected, we found documentation of property disposition or we physically verified that the asset was still being held by the county."
"Because the procedures noted above do not constitute an audit made in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards, we do not express an opinion on any of the items or areas of internal control referred to above," Alexander read from his report.
Several of the items suggested were already being done, said Alexander. The report included all items so it would be a comprehensive policy.
Commissioners called for the review because an auditor, apparently during conversations with workers at the Department of Public Safety, came away with the impression that there had been discrepancies in the county sheriff's office.
Public Safety Commissioner Brent Bodrero then met with commissioners to clear up the question. Bodereo told commissioners a captain under him had made the comment concerning the discrepancies. But the captain had not meant to imply there had been mishandling of items, but rather that there was a controversy and that controversy had to do with the relations between law enforcement and the commission, Bodrero said.
Commissioner Jim Garrett said he would never have agreed to the review by auditors if the misunderstanding had not occurred.