- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A county official in western Iowa said he has a legal and ethical obligation to follow up on a report from Council Bluffs police that found inaccurate crime data was recorded in the past.

Pottawattamie County Board member Loren Knauss said he has reported the issue to the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy out of concern with funding that was issued based on the statistics.

“They will work with Council Bluffs to determine when the problem was discovered and the differences in the numbers,” Knauss said in an email. “It will then be determined if there are any concerns with the funding that was received.”

The Council Bluffs Police Department recently announced that crime data for most of 2012 was recorded at a higher rate because of a glitch in its records software, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/1hoaJKd ). Authorities said the problem was resolved late last year.

“Since it was a computer glitch and not an intentional act, I don’t see this being a big problem,” Knauss said in a phone interview. “And I don’t see reporting this as a problem.”

Capt. Terry LeMaster of the Council Bluffs Police Department said if the state wanted to look at the department’s reporting methods, “there’s no issue there.” He called their process transparent and thorough.

Still, Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh questioned Knauss’ actions, since the inquiry may require authorities to return money.

“What kind of individual runs to the state and tattles?” he said. “We share our (law enforcement) grant money with the county, and we may have to return it. This is money to fight crime.”

Knauss said he has an obligation to report the situation.

“I have a legal and, most importantly, ethical obligation to ensure this information is relayed to the state agency that oversees these grants.”

A public meeting scheduled Wednesday on the issue has been postponed until further notice. Knauss said that’s in part to allow Council Bluffs to hire a new police chief.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com/

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