Kidnapping statistics tallied by the Phoenix Police Department are getting called into question --again.
Two Valley news stations have reported that the Phoenix Police Department, including Public Safety Manager (read: Police Chief) Jack Harris and Mayor Phil Gordon, are under investigation by the feds over allegations that kidnapping figures were inflated to snag millions in federal funding.
But that isn't exactly true, according to a statement that went out to Phoenix police employees.
"The Phoenix Police Department and City Manager's Office have been in contact with the Department of Justice and OIG Deputy Director who advised that there is no existing criminal investigation," the notice states.
Channel 5's Peter Busch said the Office of Inspector General was investigating the department over allegations that police officials inflated statistics to get $1.7 million in federal funding.
Then Channel 15 followed suit, also reporting that Phoenix was under investigation by the OIG. Their report cited e-mails written by Phoenix Police Sergeant Phil Roberts, the same officer who has called the statistics into question.
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It's not an investigation, as much as an audit that is required because the feds got a complaint, and the complaint involves the use of federal funding.
"The OIG will be performing a statistical audit and inquiry on kidnapping data as the result of a 3rd party request," according to the notice sent to Phoenix employees. "The OIG stated this is a standard procedure required by federal rules when a complaint is received. The Department and the City of Phoenix have pledged full support and cooperation. This information was fully reviewed and cleared in August when similar allegations were raised by a 3rd party. Employees are reminded that Department personnel have partnered with criminal intelligence analysts from the FBI, DHS [Department of Homeland Security], and the ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] and have reviewed hundreds of kidnapping cases for collaboration and intelligence sharing."
Phoenix police officials say "the leadership of the Phoenix Police Department continues to welcome any and all inquiries..."
A similar audit in August revealed no improprieties with the police department's kidnapping data, police said.