Keep Your Organization’s Money Safe
Category: Public Safety
Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for everyone in public safety and it is about keeping your association’s money, and perhaps it’s reputation, safe.
Members of the public may not discern one agency from another when corruption is exposed and published in the media.
Many of you are members of some sort of association that is related to your work in public safety. Maybe it’s a police officer’s guild, a firefighters’ association, or a public safety assistance foundation.
Organizations like these collect money through various means, like dues, golf tournaments, shooting competitions, relay races, raffles, and other fundraising activities. These activities can bring in thousands of dollars. The proceeds can be used to purchase needed equipment or to help police officers or firefighters, and their families, in times of need.
Unfortunately, this money is also at risk of being stolen. In some cases, the thief ends up being someone inside the organization. And when this happens, it tarnishes the reputation of the organization itself. But it can also affect the reputation of agencies in the area. And it could affect the reputation of the entire profession. Members of the public may not discern one agency from another when corruption is exposed and published in the media. So, what can you do to keep this from happening?
Require dual controls of any money in the organization. If you are handling cash, have two people count the cash and verify the amount before it’s deposited in the bank.
When making deposits, record when the deposits are made and by whom. Once a deposit is made, verify that the amount to be deposited matches the actual deposit total.
Perform regular audits on all accounts. Make sure that the auditor is independent and not the same individual who has access to your organization’s account. Simple bookkeeping with accountability measures can go a long way in preventing embezzlement.
And if you see signs of trouble, start asking questions. Don’t ignore it. Find out if there really is a problem. If you believe a crime may have been committed, notify the appropriate law enforcement agency to investigate. The sooner the better.