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Politics & Government

Pittsburgh Controller Sees Improvement in Handling of Narcotics Fund

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb says the Police Bureau’s administration of its Confiscated Narcotics Trust Fund has improved, but there is still work to do.

The Controller’s office this week released a follow-up to a November 2010 audit of the fund.

The fund pays for expenses associated with narcotics and undercover work performed by the Pittsburgh police. The money comes from cash and proceeds from the sale of items confiscated from local drug busts. The funds are reported to the federal government and the released back to the city.

The fund is administered by detectives in the city's Narcotics and Vice Squad of the Investigations Branch.

Lamb said Pittsburgh Police implemented most of his office’s recommendations from the 2010 audit.

“When we did the audit in 2010 it was really hard to determine how the money was being spent and when it was being spent,” said Lamb. “And while they’ve come a long way in kind of making that more clear, we still think they just need to adopt some basic accounting practices to strengthen those controls.”

Lamb said the new audit found travel and training expenses were not always accompanied by receipts, and there was a lack of documentation to support expenditures the Bureau reported on its annual report submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice.

“This is money that comes in from the federal government and is paid out,” said Lamb. “So we just want to make sure that we’re tracking it and make sure that it is being used toward the mission of the fund.”

Lamb said the Bureau of Police has accepted all of the recommendations they’ve provided.