BRUSLY, LA (WAFB) - Monday night, the Brusly City Council received a detailed account of the troubles that surround the Brusly Police Department. Among the issues outlined in an independent audit presented to the council were missing police weapons, incomplete or missing personnel files, and even an officer admitting to striking a prisoner not in self-defense.
"We knew we had some issues, obviously," said interim Police Chief Richie Johnson. "It definitely looked like things had not been attended to in recent years."
Johnson called for the audit after the arrest of former Brusly Police Chief Jamie Whaley. Whaley is currently under probation after pleading guilty to malfeasance in office in which he used a department-issued gas card for personal use. He is now facing additional charges including theft and forgery, accused of giving seven town-owned guns worth more than $1,000 to a firearms dealer, forging signatures on two Brusly city checks and cashing out $600. Whaley pleaded not guilty to the additional charges and will return to court in October.
The audit, which covered July 2010 through June 2014, revealed the depth of the troubles within the department. The audit examined personnel files, finance records, and the department's inventory. It then made recommendations to the department on how to address any problems. The Council voted to approve the audit and move forward with all recommendations.
Johnson said that he was not surprised by what was found.
"We concur with the auditor's findings. Most of the issues identified with the findings were identified by us prior to the audit being conducted," said Johnson.
However, one big surprise was found when the auditor began to examine police weapons. Because of the charges facing Whaley, city officials were aware that the department was missing seven weapons. But, the audit discovered the department is actually missing a total of 20 weapons, only six of which have been recovered.
"There is still one out there that we don't believe will be recovered. We have 13 that are currently under investigation," said Johnson.
The audit also revealed a surplus of property purchased by the police department. Council members voted to auction off these surplus items on November 1.
While the information revealed in the audit could certainly seem defeating, the Brusly Mayor says it marks what he hopes is the end of hard year for the city.
"We want to end this chapter and move forward. We have a new chief coming in November and we want to make sure that chief comes in with a clean slate," said Mayor Joey Normand.
City officials say the department has already made many of the recommended changes. For example, the personnel manual is being rewritten to address lapses in procedure. Two bank accounts that were put to questionable use have now been closed. Most importantly to the interim chief, personnel files and officer certification have been brought up to date. Johnson also commended the remaining police officers for continuing to serve the city through the chaos.
"The officers really hunkered down and did a wonderful job. It really was just an administration issue more than anything," said Johnson.
The city will elect a new police chief in November and the city already has two candidates.