Sheriff to seek state audit of books, policies

Canadian County Sheriff Chris West plans to have his department audited.

West, during a county commissioners’ meeting Monday, sought permission for a voluntary audit to be conducted by the state auditor and inspector’s office.

West said he doesn’t anticipate any problems being uncovered, but wants to look at how the sheriff’s office is running and if improvements can be found.

“It is incumbent upon us as elected officials to be transparent, to practice responsibility. We have a huge budget and a huge responsibility,” he said.

West has been with the sheriff’s office for four years, including the last 10 months as sheriff.

When former sheriff Randall Edwards left office in January, an exit audit was conducted.

West said that was simply an inventory audit. He is looking for a more comprehensive audit.

“I don’t think anything improper has taken place, I would be surprised if there were. I would be excited to get it corrected,” he said. “We’ve got a great staff.”

District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader said he appreciated the sheriff’s willingness to seek a comprehensive audit to ensure the office’s policies and procedures were being handled appropriately.

Hader pointed out that some large counties have recently been in the news because of financial issues, and he was appreciative of West’s willingness to seek the audit on his own.

“It is a positive for everyone,” Hader said.

West said he takes pride in the fact that Canadian County sets the bar for internal control.

“I am proud to be a part of a county that is leading the way,” he said.

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