A King County audit has concluded the sheriff's office is not doing enough to safeguard its sophisticated tools from being lost, stolen or falling into disrepair. These tools include firearms, bomb-detecting robots, night vision goggles and even helicopters.
The audit was presented to the King County Council Law and Justice Committee on June 11. Brooke Leary, who conducted the audit, told the council that inventory management of high-risk equipment in the sheriff's office lacks consistancy.
Leary pointed out there is no single person overseeing it, which leads to inaccuracies. When things fall through the cracks, it puts at risk.
"For example, being unable to deploy because of maintenance issues, sending officers out without proper safety gear or losing dangerous itmes that could then be used in a crime," Leary said.
The audit makes a series of recommendations including hiring a full-time inventory control manager in the sheriff's office. Lack of staffing is cited as a reason for the gaps in equipment tracking.
Leary said the King County Sheriff agreed with the recommendations. In King County's 2017-2018 budget, King County spent $2.8 million on law enforcement high-risk equipment.