Nebraska auditor questions police chief’s use of city funds
A report from the state auditor says it appears thousands of dollars were used for personal use
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A small-town police chief is under fire for his use of city funds.
A report from the state auditor says it appears thousands of dollars were used for personal use.
The city’s mayor is reserving judgment until a criminal investigation is complete.
The investigation started last year when thousands of dollars in gift cards were bought by the Oakland, Nebraska, police chief. He said it was to buy ammunition but state auditors say he purchased all sorts of personal items and none of it was ammunition.
The Nebraska state auditor issued a 34-page report detailing the receipts from Oakland Police Chief Terry Poland.
According to the report, he said he bought gift cards from Scheels sporting goods, more than $15,000 worth, to make it easier for other officers to buy ammunition.
Whenever officers were in Omaha, about an hour drive south of Oakland, they could pick up bullets for the job. But auditors said they found no record of ammunition being purchased.
Instead, they raised question after question, saying what was bought doesn’t seem to have any apparent purpose for the city.
Auditors allege one of the city gift card purchases was for a glass basketball backboard that cost $950.
A $400 wakeboard also turned up on the Scheels receipts. Auditors pointed out that a wakeboard is a recreational item, not something a police department would need.
Then there are all these items: the ice fishing shelter, $700, the auger $550.
Is there a valid reason these would be city purchases?
Oakland’s Mayor Ted Beckner tells 6 News that after the findings, he’s “not uncomfortable with the chief.”
He said he’s waiting for the results of the FBI investigation before deciding the next steps.
Adding that it’s only fair to get the side of Police Chief Terry Poland. The police chief who’s been on the force for a number of years remains on administrative leave until the results of the investigation.
The mayor says one thing is clear, the bookkeeping end of the city when it comes to getting detailed receipts needs to be better. The investigation also examined questions about possible double-billing by officers who patrol Oakland and the neighborhood community Lyons.
Auditors recommend the mayors talk with the county attorney about the payroll claims.
Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.