- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 17, 2001

The Metropolitan Police Departments internal investigators yesterday found live ammunition, billy clubs and ticket books among department property that was scheduled to be sold at auction today, police sources said.
The investigators from the departments Office of Professional Responsibility inspected the property after The Washington Times reported yesterday that police equipment was being sold and police officials cancelled the auction.
The Office of Professional Responsibility has been conducting an investigation of the sale of $300,000 worth of new automobile parts sold as scrap last year and first reported by The Times in March.
Assistant Police Chief Michael Fitzgerald, who is acting police chief, said the auction has been postponed until internal investigators have determined that the property is properly being sold.
Internal investigators met Brender Gregory, director of the police departments Business Services Division, at about 11 a.m. yesterday at the police garage at 1501 South Capitol St. SW and searched through the pallets of property. They also questioned Miss Gregory about why she was selling the property.
During the search, investigators found a box of ammunition with about a dozen 9 mm bullets, three billy clubs and several ticket books, police sources told The Times. It appeared that the ammunition, ticket books and clubs had been found inside police vehicles that were to be sold and were added to the piles of new and old automobile parts, office furniture and paper that were to be sold today.
"Someone could start their own police department from what they are selling," said a police source.
"Were just double-checking," said Chief Fitzgerald.
Among the departments old emergency light bars, spotlights and new automobile parts to be auctioned off, The Times found new office desks still boxed and about 300 sets of new back seats for Ford Crown Victorias, the car model used by the department.
The back seats, which cost $1,400 per set, were removed from the cars so that plastic molded seats designed to hold prisoners could be installed. The original seats were to be stored in the police departments fleet maintenance building and reinstalled in the cars when they are sold as used vehicles.
After The Times asked why new equipment was being sold, Miss Gregory on Tuesday ordered 50 sets of back seats and about a dozen desks not be sold. She said all of the seats were not supposed to be sold.
Miss Gregory also said the boxed desks were actually parts of desks that have never been used. She said she ordered them to be withdrawn from the auction until it is determined if they can be used.
The police department is selling its car parts to ease the move from the police garage to a new building at West Virginia and Montana avenues NE by the end of the month. Department workers said officials have decided to dispose of everything in the building, regardless of whether it can be used, rather than move it.
The new fleet building, constructed according to the departments specifications, is about one-fourth the size of the existing building and does not have any storage space.
The Times has found that the police department has mismanaged a $3.5 million contract with Serco Management Services Inc., which was hired in September 1999 to maintain and repair the departments vehicles.
The department has overspent about $1 million repairing vehicles since hiring Serco because of police officials failure to adequately monitor Serco.

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