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Auditor to Examine APD’s Overtime Practices

Auditor to Examine APD’s Overtime Practices

The audit will begin later this month, or early June, and as of yet, there is no scheduled completion date.

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI

The city of Albuquerque’s internal auditor will look into the Albuquerque Police Department’s overtime practices following revelations that the New Mexico State Police are investigating possible overtime and time card fraud at APD.

“We are going to look at the police department from a control perspective to see if there are internal controls that should have detected this [the alleged fraud], or if there should be controls in place to detect it,” Debra Yoshimura, director of the city’s Office of Internal Audit, told ABQ Free Press Friday.

“It was on our audit plan last year and we did not get to it, but with this recent revelation we decided to put it back on. We suspected there might be problems, and this has brought it up in priority.”

The audit will begin later this month, or early June, and as of yet, there is no scheduled completion date. “I don’t know how long it will take because it depends on what we find,” Yoshimura said.

On Thursday, ABQ Free Press reported that NMSP was investigating alleged time sheet fraud at one of APD’s area commands. The state police confirmed the investigation, but did not give details. In a request to the state police for details of the probe, ABQ Free Press said the allegations of impropriety involved a commander, lieutenant and sergeant at that it dated back to at least August of 2015. The newspaper’s inquiry also said that an officer was allegedly allowed to claim at least 10 hours of overtime each pay period — overtime that was apparently was never worked and for which there was no documentation.

APD spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said in a statement to the paper Thursday afternoon that the department itself had begun investigating the time card allegations before the state police got involved.

“After learning of allegations of possible time card fraud, the Department opened its own investigation prior to and separate from the one the New Mexico State Police is conducting,” Espinoza said. “We take our commitment to the taxpayers and community seriously, and we will thoroughly investigate this issue and cooperate with any other investigating agency.”

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.

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