Dewey Commissioners Promise Change after New Information on Poli - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dewey Commissioners Promise Change After New Info on Police Department Program

Posted: Jan 15, 2018 4:10 PM Updated:

DEWEY BEACH, Del.- Dewey Beach's new government is taking action after learning of the town's involvement in a federal surplus equipment program for police.

Late last year, the town approved an audit into each town department's finances after an independent investigation into the town manager included a footnote that referred to the Dewey Beach Police Department's involvement in the LESO program as a "slush fund." The program allows local law enforcement to receive federal surplus military equipment. At the time, no one questioned the legality of the program, but rather questioned why some in the town government allegedly weren't aware of it. 

"The previous town administration not only knew about the program since at least 2015, but had used it to their direct benefit, even sadly bartering equipment to demolish the building next to town hall," said Commissioner Paul Bauer. "Additionally, the administration deposited police funds into the general fund of the town which is an egregious offense."

Mayor T.J. Redefer says the town failed to keep an inventory of the equipment purchased through the program, and that stops immediately.

"I totally appreciate people's disappointment and outrage that this has gone on for so long and has not been properly accounted for," he tells WBOC. "What I find powerful is that we can begin again now and do it right."

While Redefer and Bauer say the town failed to keep a record of the inventory, the Dewey Beach Police Department kept a full record of the nearly 500 items. The state coordinator for the LESO program and the Federal Equipment Inventory Program website did so as well. 

Redefer says upon investigation, it makes sense that the police department's sales in the LESO program were in a separate fund, and called the referral of it as a "slush fund" unfortunate.

"The LESO program requires that any sales of their equipment does go for law enforcement, so it was natural for these funds to continue to flow to this restricted account," he explains.

Bauer also lauded the police department's involvement in the LESO program. 

"The LESO program is a very valuable federal program in which thousands of police departments all over the country participate," he says. "It helps our police acquire items they we otherwise could never afford."

For more on the program, click here

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