Audit finds LAPD bungled millions in purchases

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Los Angeles Police officials Tuesday promised to improve purchasing procedures after an audit found the department bungled millions of dollars in purchases.

The internal Los Angeles Police Department audit found that department officials made more than 80 percent of their purchases without the required competitive bids.

It also found that fewer than half the purchases were connected to documents that verified the goods were delivered.

The audit reviewed 102 random transactions during 2007 and 2008, and found problems with nearly $3 million in purchases -- a fraction of the $60 million worth of supplies bought by the LAPD annually.

According to city policy, LAPD must solicit three competitive bids for certain purchases to make sure it gets the best possible value. This was not done in 84 percent of the sampled procurement transactions, according to the audit, which determined that the LAPD Supply Section did not know about the requirement.

The audit also found that 56 percent of procurement transactions -- totaling about $2.6 million -- had no receipts that would confirm the supplies were actually received.

Finally, the audit showed 10 percent of the procurement transactions were processed without the required authorizations.

The audit surfaces as the department struggles to maintain its funding amid a city financial crisis. L.A. faces a $100 million deficit this year and a $400 million shortfall next year.

In a statement, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the department can’t ask for more money if the LAPD can’t efficiently handle its current funding.

"The LAPD is entrusted to wisely spend taxpayer dollars," Beck said.

The civilian Board of Police Commissioners that monitors the department asked Beck to develop new purchasing procedures - and to report back in February.

"The department is taking progressive steps to address the areas of concern and I look forward to the next report in February," said Commissioner Alan Skobin.

KPCC Wire Services contributed to this story.