MS State Auditor probes Waveland PD
By Dwayne Bremer
Mar 1, 2013, 19:13
For the third time since Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi State Auditor's Office has an open investigation against the city of Waveland.
The latest investigation reportedly centers around firearms which Glock Inc. donated to the police department after Hurricane Katrina.
State Auditor's spokeswoman Laney Grantham confirmed Friday that an investigation is ongoing, but she declined to give any specifics.
Likewise, Waveland Mayor David Garcia said Thursday that he could not comment on the particulars of the investigation, but said the city is "fully cooperating" with the state auditor's office.
In the past few months, state auditor's officials have reportedly questioned several former members of the police department and collected some of the weapons.
After Katrina, Glock donated handguns to several law enforcement agencies on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including Waveland, Bay St. Louis and Hancock County. At the time, the question was raised whether the guns were donated to the departments or the individual officers.
Waveland officers apparently kept the pistols donated to Waveland, while Bay St. Louis and the sheriff's office inventoried them as department property.
Former Waveland Police Chief Jimmy Varnell said Thursday that the guns donated to his department were specifically donated to the officers.
"We did not do anything wrong," Varnell said.
Glock National Sales Manager Bob Radecki said in an email Thursday that the company donated the pistols to the departments as "department property."
In addition to the investigation against WPD, the state auditor's office has an open investigation regarding excess bladder tanks purchased by the city in 2007 and 2008, Grantham said.
In 2010, the Waveland Board of Aldermen asked the state auditor's office to look into the bladder tank contracts. Garcia said he has not heard an update on the investigation in some time. In 2009, the state auditor's office investigated former Mayor Tommy Longo for allegedly misusing his city gas card.
Longo was acquitted after a trial in Hancock Circuit Court in 2010.