tampabay.com

Tampa's police stats to be audited

Officials say that's fine, but don't know what it's all about.

By MICHAEL MOHAMMED
Published April 11, 2007


An oversight unit of the state Legislature will audit the Tampa Police Department's crime statistics, at the request of Brandon Republican state Sen. Ronda Storms.

Laura McElroy, a spokeswoman for the department, said she didn't know what prompted the audit request.

"It's unusual to have an audit without any evidence of wrongdoing," she said, but "if the state wants to come down and take a look, we'll gladly open our doors for them."

Still, McElroy said, the auditors might find a few mistakes sprinkled among the 22,000 criminal reports the department generated last year.

"We expect a small margin of error, but we believe it won't be enough to affect our crime rate, she said."

The Florida Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, a Tallahassee state unit, will work with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to audit the department.

Marti Harkness, the accountability office's staff director for criminal justice, said Storms called for the audit. She could not be reached for comment.

Harkness said he has not heard evidence of police wrongdoing.

"They direct us to do the audit, and we do it," he said.

Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at mmohammed@sptimes.com or 813 226-3404.