Hired and Fired: Down economy cuts police officers' careers short... for now

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Spokesman-Review says Spokane police spent $5.3 million over two decades, using a private account operated by the police Special Investigations Unit in violation of city and state laws.

Money in the account came from seized cars, guns, cash and other valuables in drug cases and was to be used for drug-related investigations. The newspaper says accounting statements it obtained through a public records request show police sometimes broadly defined that purpose, using money for such things as remodeling parts of the police academy or sponsoring a police basketball team.

Police say they were good stewards of the money and auditors say there is no evidence of fraud. After a critical report from the state auditor's office earlier this year, the fund's management has been transferred to the city treasurer's office.

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