Houston News & Search
Waller County commissioners on Wednesday formally recorded the results of an eagerly awaited, if perhaps unconventional, audit of the weapons owned by its sheriff’s office.
The audit, released 16 months after thieves stole multiple firearms from Sheriff R. Glenn Smith’s car, stated the total number of guns in the office’s possession and made suggestions for how better to track them.
Smith wrote in response to the audit that a new software system being donated would help accomplish that.
Members of the Commissioners Court first raised the idea of an audit last year, in the months after the theft of guns from the sheriff and a commissioner. The theft occurred at a holiday event in which they all had been in attendance, but news of what happened didn’t emerge until later.
They renewed calls for the review after the sheriff’s re-election last fall and again at a meeting on March 8, when Commissioner Russell Klecka suggested the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms should possibly get involved.
Commissioner John Amsler said at the time that he expected to be dissatisfied with the forthcoming auditor’s report, but the sentiment was not unanimous. Commissioner Jeron Barnett defended Auditor Alan Younts.
“We trust you all,” Barnett said to Younts. “I don’t see us using our taxpayers’ money to go out and get someone from the outside to do an audit when we have you all here.”
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Younts maintained that he had been transparent all along about the schedule. He resisted the idea of his office being used as a “political pawn.”
The findings released this week are a few pages in length.
Guns owned by the office had previously been recorded with an Excel spreadsheet, the report said. No internal written controls were found to be in place beyond that. A prior audit had never been conducted.
The process went as follows: After the sheriff’s office updated its spreadsheet, the auditor’s office compiled its own list of weapons. The two lists were reconciled, according to the report, which did not provide further detail on discrepancy.
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The findings determined that, as of Dec. 16, the office had 223 weapons, with 187 assigned to staff and 36 in inventory.
The sheriff thanked the office in a written reply dated March 29. He said he agreed with the recommendations, and that adjustments had already been made, including development of the new software to be donated by the Waller County Sheriff’s Office Foundation.
The sheriff wrote that the auditor would be welcomed in the future to inspect it.
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