Hickman questions county audit of drug task force

January 19, 1996|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,SUN STAFF

Former Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman said yesterday that he hopes to "set the record straight" by providing the County Commissioners with a report citing factual errors in a county government audit of the now-defunct drug task force.

The 42-page audit, released in October, criticized Mr. Hickman and the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force for seizing property from suspected drug users and selling it back to them without court approval. The audit criticized the task force for sloppy recordkeeping, for allowing seized cars to become disabled and for losing track of thousands of dollars.

"This report has been released to the media and to the public; the factual errors need to be corrected," said Mr. Hickman, after a brief meeting with the commissioners yesterday. The five-term incumbent was defeated in November 1994 by Jerry F. Barnes.

Mr. Hickman cited three examples of what he said were factual errors in the audit. For example, he said, the audit notes that there might have been more sets of "raid clothing" than the number of task force officers. He told the commissioners that each officer had two sets of clothing, a black suit for night raids and a camouflage outfit for day surveillance.

"You don't leave errors in there when they're brought to your attention. If the facts are wrong, the conclusions are wrong," Mr. Hickman said, adding that his concerns were probably moot, because the task force no longer exists.

The commissioners asked Mr. Hickman to submit any findings of errors in writing.

"File your concerns and let us take a look at them," Commissioner Donald I. Dell said.

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