UPDATE: Three former Chattanooga Police officers turn in iPads - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Three former Chattanooga Police officers turn in iPads

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Former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd and the iPad in question. WRCBtv.com photo Former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd and the iPad in question. WRCBtv.com photo
A photo of the letter sent to the cheifs who still have city-owned iPads. A photo of the letter sent to the cheifs who still have city-owned iPads.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

UPDATE: Three of the four former Chattanooga Police officers who tookcity owned iPads home following retirement have returned the electronics.  

Boddy Dodd,  Randy Dunn and Kirk Eidson turned them in Monday morning.  Tommy Kennedy will turn his in Monday afternoon. 

The former officers say they have receipts for the returned iPads.


UPDATE: Former Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd is firing back after he was accused of keeping city-owned iPads that were missing from police inventory.

Dodd tells Channel 3 he and three other staff members kept the iPads after they retired because a city official authorized they could keep them. But a city audit is saying otherwise.

City Auditor Stan Sewell said it was the internal audit department's idea to take a closer look at the city's wireless devices -- which the majority are used by the police department. But the former police chief says the way it was handled is a slap in the face.

"It is a slap in the face, and I don't know if it was done with a hidden agenda, an ulterior motive, I don't know," said former CPD Chief Bobby Dodd, "but I know it was handled improperly and very unprofessional."

Dodd, who retired at the end of 2013, is talking about his iPad. It's one of four iPads belonging to former CPD chiefs that's now at the center of a city audit.

"If they changed their mind or had a problem with it, they could have called us in January," he said.

According to Dodd, he got the OK to keep the devices from the mayor's former Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Cannon. But the record of audit finding states that Cannon doesn't remember doing so.

"Everything I've ever done with them, just about every interaction I've documented with them, so I have nothing to hide," Dodd said.

He shared texts with Channel 3 from January 7 of this year, just one week after his last day.

He wrote to Cannon, "If there is a problem with the original decision to allow us to keep them or we need to return them, please let me know."

Cannon replied, "I'll take care of it."

"Some of the information we got from the internal audit corroborated things we'd already identified as needing improvement or changes," said current Chief Fred Fletcher.

The audit notes CPD's policy manual states any officer who fails to return department property could face criminal charges.

"At this point there is no reason to think there would be criminal charges. If that were to develop, we would certainly investigate that," Fletcher said.

"It's kind of embarrassing to my family to hear this stuff going on, especially without asking anybody," said retired Assistant Chief Randy Dunn.

Dunn said he found out about the audit through other officers still on the force. He opened a letter from the city on Friday that requests the iPad's immediate return.

"If they want it back, I'll give it back to them," he said.

"I spent 25-and-a-half years here, and I was never suspended once in my whole career," Dodd said. "All they had to do was call me."

The city released a statement that said the proper procedure for surplus items is having city council approve the transfer first. All four retired chiefs were sent a letter requesting the iPads are returned.


PREVIOUS STORY: Retired Chattanooga Police Department Chief Bobby Dodd and Randy Dunn both tell Channel 3 no one at the city has reached out to them to return the iPads. Dodd shared text messages exchanged with a city official that authorized the chiefs keeping the iPads. The former chiefs have been retired for 10 months.

The city's service was disconnected from the devices soon thereafter, and the former chiefs said they have been using personal funds to operate the equipment.


The City of Chattanooga released a statement Friday afternoon:

“The proper procedure is to initiate a standard process for surplus items and have any transfer approved by City Council. The proper procedure did not occur in this situation. Our Chief Information Officer Brent Messer has sent a letter to the four chiefs, requesting the return of this city property.”


PREVIOUS STORY: In a city audit calling for better inventory practices for wireless devices, retired Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd and three members of his command staff reportedly kept iPads assigned by the city.

“We recommend the police department request the return of the missing iPads taken by retired employees and consult with the city attorney regarding any legal actions city administration deems necessary,” according to the audit.

When reached for comment Thursday evening, Dodd said Jeff Cannon, former chief operating officer for the city, told the command staff they could keep the iPads. 

"I have all of the email and text proof that all of this was done above board and had been done previously by the city concerning used personal electronic equipment," Dodd said. "I don't think a man planning to steal a piece of used electronic equipment would contact the City of Chattanooga CIO/ lead technology person and make the request to purchase the item, document every conversation concerning the possibility, or the lack thereof with other chiefs, the CIO, and the technology coordinator for the Chattanooga Police Department."

City documents show the city and police department have no documented communication authorizing the chiefs to keep the iPads. 

"The city's chief operating officer at the time does not recall giving a verbal authorization," according to the record of audit finding. "He further stated he did not reply to the email requests from the chief."

That contradicts messages that Dodd still has from Cannon. Dodd says he had been emailing Cannon for weeks before his retirement.

"Conversations were documented via text and emails between myself, Jeff Cannon, Terrie Norman, [technology coordinator for the police department,] the chiefs involved, and Lisa Jones, my executive assistant," Dodd said.

Dodd sent Cannon the following message January 7: "Jeff, wanted to touch base with you again about the iPads that were assigned to the chiefs. I sent a few emails making sure that [it] was approved for them to retain them. If there is a problem with the original decision to allow us to keep them, or we need to return them, please let me know. Thank you."

Cannon responds, "We (I) have had issues with our emails. I responded every time with I'll take care of it ... I'll let Maffet know about the iPads."

The audit also states that someone submitted a false report to the city's Finance Department in April, which showed the iPads were physically accounted for. The city paid forservice for the iPads until February 2014, the audit shows.

A total of five iPads were purchased in February 2013 for members Dodd and his command staff to communicate better in the field, according to the 17-page audit released Thursday. The iPads were purchased for $625 each.

Dodd and three members of his command staff -- Randy Dunn, Kirk Eidson and Tommy Kennedy-- retired late last year.

It's unclear if all of the retired command staff members have the iPads or are actively using them.

“We found the employees did not receive council approval to keep the city issued equipment nor did they purchase the equipment through public auction as required,” according to the audit.

 The information regarding the missing iPads has been reported to the state Comptroller's Office.

Dodd said no one from the mayor's office or city auditor's office has reached out to him. A couple weeks ago, an employee at the police department asked if everything was resolved regarding the iPads. He responded that Cannon had authorized the release of the tablets.

Dodd said his iPad still contains notes from cases that are still pending litigation. Since Dodd left, he still meets with city attorneys regarding litigation involving the department for cases that were initiated during his tenure. 

The audit says 77 percent of the city's wireless devices and services come from the police department. This fiscal year, the city spending $268,467 across all departments.

Inlight of the audit, the police department will be developing policies to have better oversight  and accountability over the equipment. 

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