Police Property Room Inventory (2014-MS-4)

Issued Date
February 17, 2015

[read complete report - pdf]

We also released ten letter reports to the following: City of Auburn [pdf], City of Elmira [pdf], Town of Hamburg [pdf], Herkimer County [pdf], Town of Irondequoit [pdf], Village of Johnson City [pdf], Madison County [pdf], Town of Newburgh [pdf], City of Troy [pdf], and City of Watertown [pdf].

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to determine whether law enforcement agencies have established appropriate controls over property room inventory for the period January 1, 2012 through December 5, 2013.


Law enforcement agencies receive or seize multiple forms of property which can include cash, jewelry, firearms, weapons, controlled substances, vehicles and various other items. Securing and maintaining the integrity of property until its disposition is a critical element of police work. The failure to safeguard property can affect the prosecution of criminal violators as well as lead to a loss of public confidence and trust.

Key Findings

  • All 10 of the law enforcement agencies we audited had policies and procedures that were outdated and need updating.
  • Property is not properly safeguarded, resulting in 293 items missing from inventory at eight of the 10 municipalities we audited. Items missing included currency, drugs, electronics, firearms and vehicles.
  • Eight of the ten law enforcement agencies did not adequately document the disposition and disposal of property. More than half of the 2,894 items tested lacked supporting documentation for disposal.
  • The eight law enforcement agencies that use a computerized tracking system did not appropriately grant user rights to the system.

Key Recommendations

  • Review and update policies and procedures for controlling property.
  • Monitor activity in the property room.
  • Improve the inventory tracking and disposal process by clearly documenting property movement.
  • Assign access to computerized property tracking systems based on job duties and responsibilities.