The chief of police in Atlantic says he began asking questions about a regional intelligence-sharing office soon after he became chief in 2008.

The “Fusion” Office which served as a clearinghouse for intelligence gathering in a 14-county area of southwest Iowa was run by four officers from the Atlantic Police Department. Atlantic Police Chief Steve Green says he asked the state Division of Criminal Investigation to examine the office accounts and the state auditor soon was asked to conduct a review. 

“Everybody just wanted to make sure that everything was out and in the clear and things of that nature,” Green says.

A state audit released this morning indicated there was nearly $67,000 worth of “improper disbursements” from the office.  According to the Atlantic police chief, one of those transactions was the $41,000 paid for a single piece of equipment.

“There was a thing called a ‘Live Scan’ which is a fingerprint machine that the Fusion Office purchased and it is actually located in Crawford County.  It turns out that invoice came in after the end of the grant period, evidently, so according to the auditor they should be disallowing that,” Green says. “…And now it comes into question of whether that was a legal purchase because the invoice was late.” 

Green says there was no “malfeasance” intended, and a majority of the issues identified in the audit were the result of “inadequate bookkeeping practices.”  However, Green says there are some “questionable” issues the City of Atlantic will pursue.

“We’re probably going to be approaching the former employees and seeking reimbursement for the city’s expenses in some of those areas,” Green says. “Our main concern is that the taxpayers’ money is brought back into the fold and taken care of as best possible.”

The three full-time Atlantic police officers may have “double-dipped” according to the police chief as the three received reimbursement, twice, for a $2200 trip to take an educational course.

(Reporting by Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)