Audit of DPD administration suggests different budget system, approves of off-duty work improvements

DENVER - An audit of the Denver Police Department suggested the department use a different budgeting system.

According to the executive summary of the report from the Office of the Auditor, the police department does not currently use performance information in the budgeting process. The report suggests this means the department "cannot ensure that it consistently uses resources in the most efficient and effective manner."

The report suggests the department adopt an approach called "performance-based budgeting," which is abbreviated as "PBB."

"PBB is an approach that explicitly links strategic planning, performance measurement, and budgeting, thereby allowing resources to be strategically and effectively allocated for a jurisdiction’s highest priority goals and activities. The PBB approach allows governmental entities to better achieve key goals and provides greater accountability, allowing citizens to see more clearly the value of their tax dollars and, in the case of law enforcement entities, to give citizens greater assurance about public safety in their communities," the report says.

The audit found the department regularly uses performance data to justify expenditures in some paperwork for federal grants and suggested that experience would be a "solid foundation" for adopting this budgeting system.

As an extension of that point, the audit suggested that Denver Police cannot determine the effectiveness of its expenditures without a more refined strategic plan that includes performance goals and a performance measurement system.

The second topic of the audit was a reassessment of off-duty work controls. Off-duty work includes officers contracted through the city to do work for private businesses, like sporting events.

An audit of department accounting practices released in 2008 found several problems with internal controls that would detect when officers were breaking the rules of off-duty work.  The current audit found a new time tracking system made significant progress toward fixing those problems.