Sunday, August 07, 2005

Dallas PD hasn't learned fake drug lessons

An internal audit obtained by the Dallas News this week found that the Dallas Police Department hasn't resolved problems managing confidential informants in the narcotics unit that surfaced in the "fake drugs" scandal. According to the newspaper, the audit found that
lax supervision of undercover activities and sloppy paperwork remain concerns.

The audit, circulated within the department beginning last week, concludes that money-handling safeguards continued to be deficient in the narcotics division and in other police units. Auditors warned that the narcotics division's file-handling practices regarding money "increases the risks of misuse and abuse of such funds."

Deputy Chief Julian Bernal, who oversees the narcotics and vice units, said this week that police have in recent weeks moved swiftly to correct many problems lingering from the scandal in which crooked police informants profited by setting up the arrests of almost two dozen people on false drug charges.
Well, I'm glad they're "moving swiftly" now. I mean, the scandal only cropped up four years ago. You wouldn't want to rush into anything.

The audit found that narcotics officers still weren't adequately checking informants' backgrounds, or documenting payments to CIs in a way that supervisors could tell if rules were being enforced. Theft from the fund used to pay informants had never been accounted for. Payments still were frequently authoirized after the fact, which violated departmental policy. DPD told the paper they're implementing all the audit's recommendations, but at this point one would expect these problems to have been long-ago solved.

Even more troubling, eight different officers falsified the results to field tests claiming fake drugs were real, but
only two of them were ever charged. The rest stayed on the force, which points to the biggest unlearned lesson of all: If Dallas PD intends to tolerate corrupt cops on the force, all the new procedures in the world won't stop future abuses.

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