Columbus – Nearly $3,000 was identified as missing from the Village of Leesburg (Highland County) police evidence room in an audit report released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. The resulting investigation led to the June 5 indictment of former Leesburg police officer Duane Bussey on charges of theft and tampering with evidence.
“I applaud the prosecutor for obtaining this indictment,” Auditor Yost said. “The first responsibility of every government is to police itself, and that duty is greatest for police officers, who take the oath to enforce the law.”
Under the Ohio Revised Code, the persons responsible for administering the missing property are held accountable for it, resulting in findings for recovery in the amount of $2,841 against Bussey, who resigned in Oct. 2010. Because Ohio law provides for secondary responsibility for those with supervisory authority over public funds, a finding for recovery was also issued against the police chief and the bonding company.
Following discovery of the missing funds, the village changed its policies regarding handling of evidence. The audit recommends that these polices be augmented by a regular inventory of the evidence room.
Other, non-monetary findings in the audit noted a lack of accounting controls to ensure that transactions are posted to the proper accounts.
A full copy of the audit may be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.