Internal & Performance Auditing
You are a staff auditor working for a State government. You work in the State Comptroller’s Office. The Comptroller is an elected official employing a staff of professional auditors. These auditors carry out the Comptroller’s constitutional and statutory authority to do financial and performance audits of State agencies.
The State agencies do not have the option of evaluating which audits will be done of their program. The decision as to which programs to audit, when the audit will occur, the scope of the audit, and the resources to be devoted to the audit, rest with the professional audit managers in the State Comptroller’s office. The auditors in the Comptroller’s Office adhere to the Government Auditing Standards issued by the Comptroller General of the United States and the Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors.
You have enjoyed your role on various performance audit teams over the last twelve months and you are looking forward to your next assignment. You have been assigned to an economy and efficiency audit that will evaluate the deployment practices of patrol troopers in the Division of the State Police. During the survey work for this assignment, the audit team has gathered the following information about trooper deployment.
1. The Patrol Activities Program
The mission of the State Police is to preserve the peace, enforce the law, protect life and property, and detect crime and apprehend criminals throughout the State. By law, the State Police are assigned to rural and suburban areas of the State where they are well known and visible. They do not enter cities unless invited in by the mayor.
The State Police are composed of two major groups: the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the Patrol Activities Program (patrol program) The BCI investigates and resolves crimes. They represent the non-uniformed force. The patrol program includes the uniformed trooper. The function of this group is to be the first line of defense against crime and to assure public safety. The patrol function has high public visibility and represents a large portion of the State Police’s budget.
a. Organizational Structure of the Patrol Program
The State Police are organized in the following configuration:
- Headquarters – a single headquarters managed by a superintendent and senior deputies
- Troops – nine troops in the State, each headed by a major
- Zones – three or four zones within a troop, each headed by a lieutenant
- Stations – 60 stations located within zones, each staffed by a trooper
b. Staffing and Budget
At the time of the audit, the patrol program employed about 2,600 uniformed troopers and about 110 civilian employees. The patrol program’s budget was about $98.8 million a year. The challenge to the program is how to adequately protect the State’s citizens at the most reasonable cost, particularly considering the State’s serious fiscal situation.
c. Contract Policing
The State Executive Law authorizes the State Police to provide local governments with police service on a fee basis. The objective of such contract policing is to allow a small political subdivision to purchase law enforcement services from a larger subdivision (the State), and thereby benefit from the greater range of services and lower per capita costs (economies of scale) associated with the larger government.
The State Police have not set up a contract policing program in the State. They argue that contract policing is used on a limited basis throughout the United States and it has the potential to disrupt the working relationship developed between the State Police and local police departments. Management of the State Police indicate the following political and operational problems would be encountered:
- Local political leaders may regard contract policing as an infringement of the State upon the autonomy of local governments.
- The State Police’s flexibility and ability to concentrate quickly many troopers in a specific area or community to deal with dangers to public safety would be diminished.
- In the past, the only request for contract policing came from communities wishing to dissolve their own police departments to save money.
d. 1974 Deployment Study
In 1974, a Task Force consisting of State Police and other government officials issued a report that concluded local police agencies in the State have come into existence over the years without a well-devised plan to provide coordinated services between police jurisdictions. The report further stated that the lack of coordination between the State Police and local police agencies resulted in costly jurisdictional overlaps and highly uneven police service to the public.
The Task Force also developed a method to assign troopers throughout the State. However, State Police management said they did not carry out the recommendations because they did not have enough money to hire the additional 526 troopers needed.
2. Current System of Deploying Troopers
At the time of the audit, the system for allocating troopers to the nine troops in the State depended upon the professional judgment of management in Headquarters and in the troops. There has been nearly the same proportion of troopers in each troop for the last 13 years. While State Police management advised the auditors that they used summary statistical information, there was no supporting documentation available to provide the basis for the existing allocation of resources.
Prior to the start of the audit, the management of the State Police began a project to develop a formal deployment system. While the project was still in its infancy, it was anticipated that an incident transaction reporting system would be developed to provide detailed information on each call for service.
State Police management concluded they would use response time to a call for service and patrol workload data as the basis for establishing a formal, objective deployment system. Response time to a service call is defined as the time which elapses between receiving a call and the trooper appearing at the scene. Workload data collected at the time of the audit included calls for service and discretionary activities initiated by the trooper, such as aiding a stranded motorist. Workload data currently not captured in the recordkeeping system includes the items below:
- type of call
- date and time call received
- origin of call
- the time request for help is transmitted to the trooper
- response time by trooper
- need for timely response (crime in progress vs. day old burglary)
No time line was established for completing the State Police’s deployment project. However, prior studies of trooper deployment were completed, but not implemented. The auditors were advised that this occurred because there was a lack of additional money available to implement the prior projects.
Information Gathered by the Auditors
During the course of the audit survey, you and the other auditors gathered the following additional information:
1. Patrol Post Structure
There are three types of patrol posts to which a trooper could be assigned. While the patrol posts are fixed, they may not be staffed at all times because there is not enough troopers available.
- Primary Area Post – These cover a defined geographic area which usually encompasses from four to nine towns. The trooper is the primary police officer responding to calls for assistance.
- Secondary Area Post – These are defined geographic areas consisting of towns and villages that have their own full time police departments. The State Police provide backup patrols and help as needed. They also provide specialized patrol services when needed.
- Line Posts – These encompass segments of controlled access highways. These are highly travelled roads. The troopers’ primary functions are enforcing traffic and criminal laws, and performing traffic control functions.
2. Resources Available for Deployment By The State Police
At the time of the audit, the staffing of the troops was as follows:
Uniformed Force (Troopers at Time of Audit)
While there are nine troops, troop T only patrols a controlled access highway – a line post. It was excluded from the audit because it poses unique considerations for deployment purposes.
Some troopers are assigned to special assignments. As such the total troopers accounted for is less than the total troopers available.
3. Availability of Total Local Police Resources
In addition to the State Police, many of the counties, towns and villages in the State have their own full-time police forces. The following summary information is presented to show the magnitude of these additional police resources:
|Type of Locality||Police Available||Cost|
4. Availability of State and Local Police Resources
The auditors also gathered information on the total number of police patrols available and the population in a State Police zone. The following chart shows this information for the troops and zones:
POLICE PATROL ACTIVITIES IN SUBURBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
|#of Patrols Per Day||#of Patrols Per Day|
|Troop||Zone||Zone Population||Localities||State Police|
5. Incidence of Crimes and Accidents
Finally, the auditors gathered the following information on the number of crimes and accidents occurring in the troop zones. Part I crimes are serious felonies. Part II crimes are lesser felonies and misdemeanors.
(You can download this file at the bottom of this page.)
POLICE PATROL ACTIVITIES IN SUBURBAN AND RURAL COMMUNITIES
|Troop||Zone||Zone Population||Number of Part I Crimes||Number of Part II Crimes||Total Traffic Accidents|
6. Other Information
You and the audit team also find out that:
- The average annual cost of a trooper is $55,066.
- It takes 2.26 police officers to perform one eight hour patrol 365 days a year.
Information To Be Considered By The Student:
Based on the information presented in the case study, you should develop a set of workpapers and an audit report that supports your findings about the deployment practices of the State Police.
- Identify the audit issues. Define areas of risk.
- Analyze available information to show the disparity in patrol activity within the troops and zones. The use of an Excel spreadsheet or similar spreadsheet program is encouraged.
- Develop the attributes for each of your audit findings.
- Assess potential areas of resistance from the management of the State Police.
- Prepare a written report that describes your audit findings.
Typically, a performance auditor seeks to develop each audit finding with the following attributes:
CRITERIA The standards, measures, or expectations used in making an evaluation or verification (what should exist). Criteria would include these items:
- Written requirements (laws, rules, regulations, manuals, directives, etc.)
- Overall objectives of agency or organization
- Auditor’s experience
- Common sense, prudent business practices
- Verbal instructions
- Independent opinion of experts
- Generally accepted standards of the industry.
Condition: The factual evidence the auditor found during the audit which shows what actually exists (what does exist). Conditions would include answers to one or more of the following questions:
- What evidence was found?
- What is defective?
- What is deficient?
- What is in error?
Effect: The risk or exposure to the organization being audited because the condition is not the same as the criteria (the difference between the criteria and the condition).
- Dollar loss
- Uneconomical or inefficient use of resources
- Loss of potential revenue or income
- Violation of law
- Ineffectiveness – the job is not being done as well as it could be
- Funds are improperly spent
Cause: The reason for the difference between the criteria and the condition (why the difference exists). It may include one or more from the list below [this list is not all-inclusive]:
- Lack of qualifications to do the job
- Management not doing its job
- Inadequate training
- Poor communication
- Negligence or carelessness
- Faulty instructions
- Lack of resources
- Insufficient effort or interest
- Unwillingness to change
- Faulty or ineffective organizational arrangement.
Recommendation: The action necessary to bring the condition in line with the criteria (depends on the cause).