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Pittsburgh police urged to further improve handling of money seized in drug busts

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By Michael Hasch
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, 11:50 p.m.

Pittsburgh's police department has made improvements but needs to correct several problems in the administration of money confiscated during drug busts, City Controller Michael E. Lamb said on Wednesday.

Auditors found that travel and training expenses from the Pittsburgh Police Confiscated Narcotics Proceeds Trust Fund were not always supported with receipts and that the responsibilities for the fund are not clearly defined, Lamb said.

Auditors also found a lack of documentation to support expenditures reported on the annual report submitted to the Department of Justice, he said.

The Confiscated Narcotics Proceeds Trust Fund was established in 1987 to account for the deposit of cash and proceeds derived from the seizure of narcotics and related items. The fund restricts resources deposited into it for any expenses associated with investigations of narcotics violations.

It is administered by detectives within the police department's Narcotics and Vice Squad.

“Since our audit in 2010, significant improvements have been made by the bureau in the administration of the Confiscated Narcotics Trust Fund,” Lamb said. “However, improvements still need to be made with regard to adequate documentation and reporting of revenues and expenditures of the fund.”

Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper said he has not seen the audit, which examined fund documents dated Jan. 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012.

“We will take his recommendations under advisement and make the necessary changes,” Harper said.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or

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