Controller to conduct audit into secondary police details

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Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said Saturday that his office has launched an audit of the Police Bureau's handling of funds paid by private entities for security services provided by off-duty officers.

Mr. Lamb said that his staff notified the bureau Friday that it would be sending fiscal auditors to review the process by which the funds are handled, and to check the flow of money over a period of time, probably two years.

"We're looking at the funds that come in as a result of secondary employment detail work and how those funds are handled," Mr. Lamb said.

Off-duty officers are in demand to work security at bars, banks, road construction sites, sports events and other functions.

Years ago, bureau employees managed their own side jobs. Since 2007, the bureau has administered the jobs, billing private entities for officers' time and paying the officers time-and-a-half -- a little more than $40 an hour -- and adding a $3.85-an-hour fee that the bureau keeps to cover expenses.

"And that's one of the questions we have: How is that fee accounted for," said Mr. Lamb. The money should stay in the bureau's premium pay account, probably to cover unexpected overtime, he said.

Mr. Lamb said there has been recent interest in the secondary employment process, and his auditors have been reviewing various bureau functions. The office recently released an audit of the use of money forfeited by defendants in drug cases.

"We've done a couple of other audits over there, and this is just really one of the issues we've wanted to do," Mr. Lamb said.

He said the time frame for completing the audit depends on level of cooperation of the bureau, adding that fiscal reviews often take a few months.



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