Use of Equitable Sharing Revenues by the Detroit Police Department, Detroit, Michigan

Audit Report GR-50-08-007
May 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Executive Summary

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division has completed an audit of the use of DOJ equitable sharing revenues by the Detroit Police Department (Detroit PD). Equitable sharing revenues represent a share of the proceeds from the forfeiture of assets seized in the course of certain criminal investigations.1 During the period of July 1, 2004, through October 30, 2007, the Detroit PD was awarded DOJ equitable sharing revenues totaling $1,308,817 to support law enforcement operations>.

The Detroit PD generally complied with equitable sharing guidelines with respect to accounting for equitable sharing receipts, interest earned on equitable sharing funds, and supplanting. We also confirmed that the Detroit PD did not receive any equitably shared property. However, we found weaknesses related to the Detroit PD’s Federal Annual Certification Reports, its tracking and reconciliation of sharing requests, and its use of equitable sharing revenues. Our findings include:

Our report contains nine recommendations to address the weaknesses we identified, which are discussed in detail in the Findings and Recommendations Section of the report. Our audit objective, scope, and methodology appear in Appendix I of the report. We discussed the results of our audit with Detroit PD officials, and we included their comments in the report, as applicable. In addition, we provided our draft audit report to the Detroit PD and the DOJ Criminal Division and received written comments. These comments have been appended to our report along with our analysis of the responses.


  1. The DOJ asset forfeiture program has three primary goals: (1) to punish and deter criminal activity by depriving criminals of property used or acquired through illegal activities; (2) to enhance cooperation among foreign, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through equitable sharing of assets recovered through this program; and, as a by-product, (3) to produce revenues to enhance forfeitures and strengthen law enforcement.

  2. A consent decree is a judicial order that expresses a voluntary agreement by the participants in a suit, especially an agreement by a defendant to cease activities alleged by the government to be illegal in return for an end to the charges. The consent decree in question is between DOJ and the Detroit PD and, among other conditions, stipulated that the Detroit PD provide an intermediate force option for its officers. The Detroit PD agreed to do so by purchasing and issuing batons.

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