Beaufort Co. Commissioners call for audit into sheriff's departm - WSPA.com

Beaufort Co. Commissioners call for audit into sheriff's department

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WASHINGTON, N.C. -

In a 4 to 3 vote, Beaufort County Commissioners decided not to move forward with an audit into the county's sheriff office.

The audit was proposed by Commissioner Hood Richardson after he discovered the sheriff's office receives around $70,000 a year to fund their undercover agents and informants to put drug dealers in the county in jail.

"I thought the money had been coming from another place that I knew there wasn't very much money in," Richardson said. "When I landed on $70,000, that's big."

Richardson says the lack of transparency in the department makes him suspicious how the money is being used and tracked.

But Beaufort County Sheriff Alan Jordan says their program is one of the best in the state, even if some county money does end up in the hands of drug dealers.

"We may purchase those drugs from you but we may not be able to arrest you on that particular day," Jordan said. "So of course the money would go into your hands, and we may or may not be able to recoup that money."

Russell Davenport is the captain of narcotics for the Beaufort County Sheriff's office. He says the buy money produces many more convictions that if they weren't to use it.

In 2010, 118 drug offense reports were filed in the county without buy money being used. That same year, 390 drug offense reports were filed with the drug money use.

That trend has continued every year. So far this year, 51 reports have been filed without the buy money, compared to 200 reports filed with it.

"The purpose of this is to try to lead us to the next drug dealer that is his supplier," Davenport said. "Whoever is supplying him is who we're after, so we try to go up the ladder."

Richardson says the department hasn't been very open with them. But Sheriff Jordan says he has no problem producing the information since it is public, and that this proposed audit is just a stunt.

"I don't consider this a political game," Jordan said. "This is something we believe in, this is our job. Something that we do and try to do to the very best of our abilities."

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