Auditors concerned over ticketing procedure at area police department
SPRINGFIELD - The town police department needs to do a better job of tracking traffic ticketing procedures, auditors found in a recent state audit.
Ticket booklets are not organized or managed in a systematic way, leading to a lapse in assurances that all tickets are returned and accounted for, auditors reported. The audit suggests a breakdown in the checks and balances of ticket writing at the police department.
The audit comes in the wake of a ticket-fixing scandal that cost the mayor his job and, temporarily, the police chief's too. Chief James Jones and former mayor Charles Martin pleaded guilty to covering up a 2011 DWI arrest for a friend. Both men faced four felony charges but instead pleaded down to one charge of misdemeanor criminal mischief. Jones and Martin had to complete community service and give up their jobs. After stepping down in April 2015, and being off the force for the rest of the year, Jones returned to the force as chief earlier this year.
"I'm going to get back to work, and I'm going to put this behind me. We're going to try to get things straight at the police department in the town of Springfield," he said in an interview in January about the situation.
Jones' office told auditors the city will research how other municipalities handle accounting for tickets and make changes. Auditors suggest booklets be returned every four to six weeks and numerical sequences should be reviewed and all tickets accounted for.
According to the town's website, Springfield has one full-time police officer and three part-time officers.
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