TN agents buy high-priced Oakley Sunglasses to raid meth labs

TN agents buy high-priced Oakley Sunglasses to raid meth labs

Drug Task Force members for the 15th Judicial District in Lebanon spent nearly $2,000 of taxpayer money on Oakley Sunglasses, weightlifting equipment, Lacrosse balls, flags, and even stickers, according to an audit released Friday.

Tennessee Comptrollers scolded members of that task force for spending taxpayer money on things not necessary for drug enforcement or drug education programs.

In a response, the task force’s director said agents needed the weightlifting equipment and the lacrosse balls to help them stay fit on the job.

Agents said they bought Oakley Sunglasses to protect their eyes while they raided meth labs.

METH LAB: Members of the 15th Judicial District said they needed expensive Oakley Sunglasses to raid meth labs like this one (photo courtesy of Flickr.com and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Oakley Sunglasses aren’t cheap.

According to various websites, a pair generally runs between $150 to $200. Other websites, meanwhile, list sunglasses for as cheap as $12.95.

And, as for the stickers, the director said agents needed taxpayer money to pay for those too.

“The DTF Director stated that the flags were used to decorate the DTF gym, and the stickers and patches were used by the agents to distinguish each individual’s equipment,” according to the audit.

Auditors said spending taxpayer money in this manner violated state law.

Members of the Drug Task Force told auditors they’ll do better and that they are developing a purchasing policy for whatever they spend taxpayer money on.

RELATED — Another TN police chief abused his power, auditors say

As part of the audit, Tennessee Comptrollers looked at the spending habits of all 31 judicial districts around the state.

In another finding, Comptrollers said the 19th Judicial District’s Victim Assessment Program had a cash deficit of nearly $8,000.

The 19th Judicial District includes Clarksville and Springfield.

Members of that Judicial District told Comptrollers they plan to do better.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org

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