After a former Summerville police officer was arrested last month for allegedly transferring money from one of the police department’s bank accounts into his own personal account, town officials now want to look into the handling of some town funds.
At a town Public Safety Committee meeting last week, council members voted for the town’s administration and finance department to investigate how side funds are handled. Committee members said they want the town to avoid incidents like misappropriation of funds.
“I think it’s our obligation to be responsible enough to require enough accountability on these funds of any type so that we can avoid this type of thing,” said Town Councilman Aaron Brown.
The matter came up after up after the arrest of former officer James Michael Bateman, Sr. who was charged on Aug. 22 with breach of trust with fraudulent intent after allegedly depositing two checks, totaling $1,500, from the department’s Cadet Post account between June 2012 and June 2013.
The Summerville Police Cadet Post is a program for young people to engage with law enforcement and participate in police service activities.
Councilman Brown said he would like the town’s administrator to look through all of the funds not coming through the town’s finance department to see if the accounts are secure.
“Or does the administrator recommend that we make some changes?” said Brown.
Chief Jon Rogers explained that funds for the Cadet Post program are spent using a debit card and that they have since changed the way the funds are handled.
“What we have done is we have taken the accountability side of it and given it to another member of the command staff,” said Chief Rogers. “There is a second line that’s involved without getting the card, how it’s and what it’s used for.”
Town Attorney G.W. Parker advised the committee that it would be better to discuss the details of the incident involving the former officer until after the case has been adjudicated. Chief Rogers said it should be adjudicated by next month.
The town’s next Public Safety Committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 8.