INDIANAPOLIS - Hundreds of thousands of dollars are in limbo for the Indianapolis Police Department while federal officials audit the use of some of those funds.
In particular, the Department of Justice is targeting how IMPD has spent forfeited asset monies.
IMPD's 2014 operating budget topped $231 million. After paying for salaries, vehicles, guns and bullets and utilities, the department says it has less than $7 million left in discretionary spending. That's why public safety officials say the seizure of criminal assets is vital to funding the war on crime – and why the DoJ's block of those funds is a problem.
"We have made sure the guidelines are distributed to all the stake holders," said Valerie Washington, deputy director of the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety. "We had an audit to cut down on any of these issues in the future."
At issue is money the Department of Public Safety used to fund community outreach programs like the Ten Point Coalition and counseling and assistance programs to help victims of violent crime. Assets seized by the IMPD also fund programs within the agency and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.
This year, the Department of Public Safety has budgeted $2.2 million in seized forfeiture assets into the IMPD spending plan.
"They want money for training and equipment and things they are investigating," Washington said. "And so far this year, police have seized more than $4 million. We want to make sure they have what they need to continue that."
The Department of Justice has requested additional documentation on the spending of approximately $400,000.
City officials said even though police can't spend that money at the moment, the city won't lose it. They said they hoped to have the audit cleared up by next month.
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