Auditor’s office to review illegal dumping ops, body cams

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The City Auditor’s Office has begun two new audits: one to review how the City is addressing illegal dumping and the second to examine the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department’s (KCPD) use of body-worn cameras.

The Public Works Solid Waste Division is responsible for the city’s illegal dumping operation program. The program deals with garbage, rubbish, yard waste, or large debris dumped in public places or on private properties without the consent of the owner.

The program has a budget of about $2.1 million in fiscal year 2022 for six investigators, 15 administrative and clean-up staff, and contractors.

In March 2021, the Mayor and City Manager announced the city’s priority of reducing blight, improving the city’s efforts of cleaning up trash and illegal dumping sites, and encouraging community engagement in the clean-up efforts.

“Addressing illegal dumping is important to the city’s residents and according to the most recent resident survey, satisfaction with the City’s efforts to clean-up illegal dump sites is only 20%,” the auditor’s announcement read. “Residents expressed concerns to the City Auditor’s Office about City efforts to deal with illegal dumping in Kansas City and suggested we audit those efforts.”

The objectives of this audit are to evaluate how the city can improve community engagement efforts to reduce illegal dumping and how long it takes the city to respond to illegal dumping complaints and clean-up illegal dump sites.

View the audit Scope Statement online on the City Auditor’s Recent Reports page. They plan to issue the audit report in January 2022.

Between November 2020 and April 2021, KCPD deployed over 800 body-worn cameras (BWC) to officers in the six patrol divisions plus the Traffic Enforcement and Special Operations divisions.

Body-worn camera videos can be used to promote transparency, increase accountability, and discourage inappropriate behaviors by both officers and the public. Many Kansas Citians have asked the Mayor and Council for patrol officers in the Kansas City Police Department to be outfitted with body-worn cameras. The City Council directed the City Auditor to conduct an audit of the body-worn camera program.

The objectives of this audit are to evaluate whether police officers are using body-worn cameras in accordance with department policies and identify recommended practices that would enhance the department’s body-worn camera policy.

In its Scope Statement, the City Auditor’s Office noted one impairment to their research. 

“Missouri’s Sunshine Law limits the videos that we can review for this audit,” the statement read. “Per state statute, mobile video recordings that are part of active police investigations are closed records until the investigations become inactive. The statute also outlines other reasons some videos or parts of videos are closed or authorized to be closed records. This impairs our ability to assess officers’ use of body-worn cameras in some situations and will limit conclusions we can draw about whether officers are using BWC in accordance [with] department policies.”

View the audit Scope Statement online on the City Auditor’s Recent Reports page. They plan to issue the audit report in April 2022.

Citizens can submit audit ideas to the City Auditor on the City’s website at kcmo.gov/city-hall/departments/city-auditor-s-office/submit-audit-ideas.

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