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Red Oak police chief terminated

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JOEY DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press
RED OAK - Police Chief Doug McHam has been fired. The city's auditors spent much of last week looking over the Seizure and Narcotics Fund in McHam's former department afterThe Ellis County Press correspondent Rodney Ramsey exposed accounting irregularities in his weekly columns. 'Preliminary results indicate that there were no funds deposited into the [S&N] fund that were unaccounted for,' stated Red Oak City Manager Ken Pfeifer in a press release. 'But procedural errors may exist involving the purchase of flowers for the slain Ferris police officer, reimbursement of a court fund, the purchase of an officer retirement plaque, and the payment for the annual animal control dues,' continued Pfeifer.

Ramsey said he talked with Ellis County District Attorney officials about possible criminal violations, but the D.A. told him, 'there is no criminal punishment attached to the violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure.'

Pfeifer, who terminated McHam over 'administrative style differences,' said the purchases totaled $200, but the flowers and court fund reimbursement were permitted expenses for federal forfeiture funds, according to the Department of Justice. According to copies of the department's check receipts, $50 that McHam told Councilwoman Kay Wiggs had been repaid by collections from dispatchers, was actually a check written by McHam from another city account from donations.

'This is also an improper expenditure,' Ramsey said. 'McHam also lied [when] he told her [Wiggs] the dispatchers had each put in $10 to cover the shortage.'

'Five other police department funds will be audited as part of the audit of the general purpose financial statements and as part of the regular municipal audit,' Pfeifer stated. Auditors aren't expected to find any irregularities, according to Pfeifer, within the Court Technology, Court Security and the Crime Prevention Funds.

'Ken [Pfeifer] told me, personally, that McHam had advised him that the district attorney had reviewed the expenditures from the narcotics account. He advised Ken they had told him the expenditures were okay,' Ramsey said. 'I went to the D.A.'s office and conferenced with them about this. They advised me they had told McHam that the expenditures were not okay.'

Ramsey said the district attorney wasn't serious enough to prosecute him (McHam). 'They advised me it was a problem for the city to deal with,' he said.

General purpose financial statements will be part of the regular municipal audit and will be presented to Mayor Todd Little at the December Red Oak City Council meeting, Pfeifer stated.

Pfeifer said, as for McHam, the city wasn't aware of any criminal charges that would be filed or any actions that would warrant such charges, despite McHam violating the CCP.

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