The state fire marshal's office can't account for a missing shotgun and has failed to meet its legal duty to annually inspect all Oklahoma correctional facilities, a state audit has revealed.
“Lax inventory record-keeping and failure to conduct inventory counts on such items as firearms, laptop computers and cigarettes seized for fire safety code violations have resulted in missing inventory,” said state Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones.
“Most alarmingly, management was unable to locate a Remington shotgun assigned to a field agent,” he reported. “Another firearm was reportedly gifted to a retiring agent but no documentation was retained to support this explanation.”
Unable to locate the shotgun, employees of the fire marshal's office filed a missing weapons report with the Oklahoma City Police Department and have placed renewed emphasis on conducting annual inventory reviews, according to the audit.
The fire marshal's office neglected to inspect 27 correctional facilities in 2011 and 30 facilities in 2011, auditors said.
“Such an oversight not only results in statutory noncompliance, but has more severe implications, such as increasing the risk of property damage, personal injury and potential loss of life at uninspected facilities,” Jones said.
Jones said his auditors identified 210 correctional facilities under the jurisdiction of the state, counties, cities and towns. By law, fire marshal's employees are required to inspect each institution every year.
Jones blamed the agency's failure to meet that requirement on its failure to maintain a checklist of all correctional institutions in the state.
Officials with the fire marshal's office responded that a comprehensive list of correctional facilities was created in October 2012 and procedures were established to make sure annual inspections are conducted at each institution.
Auditors noted the following additional deficiencies:
• The agency has created an opportunity for theft by placing its finances in the hands of too few employees. Auditors said they had made the same criticism in three consecutive audits over a span of nine years without the problem being corrected. No actual thefts were discovered.
• Weaknesses in the agency's building inspection review process create a risk that the agency may approve a building for occupancy that does not comply with all safety requirements.
Officials with the fire marshal's office told auditors they were taking corrective measures.