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Scathing state audit released on fired Killian Police Chief

10 months 1 week 3 days ago Monday, January 08 2018 Jan 8, 2018 January 08, 2018 8:11 AM January 08, 2018 in News

KILLIAN - An audit from the State Legislative Auditor's office indicates that false overtime, missing traffic tickets and improper user of town credit cards led the town of Killian to fire Police Chief Dennis Hill last year. 

WBRZ's Investigative Unit learned that an investigation into Hill's conduct began in June 2017 after authorities took note of a series of unauthorized gas charges applied to a Town of Killian credit card. Shortly after, a person called the town hall to pay for a ticket, but clerks couldn't find it -- along with additional missing tickets. 

According to the audit, Hill submitted two-and-a-half years of time sheets for 35 hours of overtime that he didn't work. Those hours were paid for by a grant from Louisiana Highway Safety Commission(LHSC) that covers overtime costs to enforce seatbelt and impaired driving laws.

Auditors say, The fuel card purchases and social media posts from Hill's personal page indicates that he was out of the state on the occasions he billed for extra hours, which could be a violation of state law.

While getting $994 from LHSC funds, the audit shows, Dennis Hill collected $28,685 Killian-funds for overtime without an ordinance or approval to bill for overtime beyond his allotted salary.

The Town of Killian records show that, from May 2015 to November 2016, Hill charged over $1,208 on Town credit cards to purchase $460 in personal clothing from Men's Warehouse and $748 in gas while out of state. When asked, Hill claimed the clothing was a "full uniform suit" to replace the one he lost in the August 2016 flood. The mayor approved this expense, however Hill was accompanied by another police officer and he paid for his suit personally. Later, Hill turned in the suit and reimbursed the Town for the purchase two weeks after the auditors started asking questions.

Auditors also asked about the use of his Killian-issued credit card after there were purchases at out-of-state gas stations. The former chief admitted to using a fuel card while on a personal vacation in November 2015, however auditors noted there there were 15 out-of-state fuel purchases on four different trips between May 2015 and August 2016 -- totaling $748 in fuel purchases.

Swiping the card while he was on personal vacation also revealed that Hill was charging overtime hours in May and August of 2015. 

The Town of Killian officials, found no documentation of any business that was done on this trip.

The audit also showed that the Town purchased over $30,000 in scuba gear for the department's dive team from Liquid Planet Divers, LLC, a company owned by part-time police officer and dive team commander, David Baylis. State law prohibits public employees from bidding or entering into any contract with the public agency that employs them. 

For nearly four years, the Town failed to account for 76 traffic tickets. The audit shows that those citations were recorded at the police department, but were not forwarded to the Town Clerk. The missing tickets were found at the Killian Police Department's office following Hill's firing. 

The Board of Alderman decided to fire Hill on June 13, 2017 as the investigation began. Killian Mayor Peter Bock and the Board of Alderman responded to the audit in October 2017 saying in part "the in-depth explanation of the violations of state law and the recommendations, were very precise and enlightening. The administration has already corrected several issues pertaining to your recommendations ... the Town of Killian has not and will not condone any illegal activities."

If you would like to read the full audit, click here. 

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