Audit Raises Questions about Former Sheriff - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Benton, MO

Audit Raises Questions about Former Sheriff

Audit Raises Questions about Former Sheriff
By CJ Cassidy

Benton, MO - Former Scott County Sheriff Bill Ferrell says he gave money to charity, but is still answering questions about a bank account.

He says the account was his, but auditors say it belonged to the county.

Current Sheriff Rick Walter says the auditors office asked him to look into the matter.

Bill Ferrell says this isn't the first time auditors have raised questions about the account, but the results of this audit, hurts.

"My conscience is clear. It hurts, but it's politics," he says.

Ferrell says his quiet retirement's been jarred by accusations from the state auditor's office.

The audit states the former sheriff did not turn over dare funds and records over to the new sheriff.

D.A.R.E is an acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education; a program Ferrell says he couldn't staff in the years leading up to his retirement.

"This was my account. It was my personal money, and we dubbed it D.A.R.E and Crime Prevention Fund," he says.

The audit points out donations made to charitable groups don't appear to be a prudent or necessary use of county funds, but Ferrell says he raised the money himself, and never told anyone it was going towards the D.A.R.E Program.

"Over the years, many, many years, this is what paid for donations to Shriner's and St. Jude hospitals, to different activities and raised this money through golf tournaments," Ferrell says.

"We're just going to do what the auditors asked us to do look into where the money went, where it came from , what it was supposed to be used for ," Sheriff Rick Walter says.

In the meantime, Sheriff Walter has brought back the D.A.R.E Program, and D.A.R.E Officer Patricia Garner hopes it's here to stay.

"if we reach one child it would be worth having, wouldn't it?" she asks.

"I don't know I would have done anything differently. I haven't done anything wrong," Ferrell says.

However, Ferrell does add, looking back he probably should have changed the name of the account.

Meanwhile Sheriff Walter hopes an outside agency takes over the investigation.

Ferrell says a previous audit didn't cause quite the controversy this one's causing.

The audit also raises questions about some guns and money used to fund Ferrell's retirement party.

Ferrell says he returned the guns to their owners after their cases had been disposed, and also adds he reimbursed the account for the money spent on his party.

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