The Police Department violated state bidding laws last year when it sold 63 guns to a Lafayette police and hunting supply store, Police Chief Dewayne White said Monday.
The guns — all of which were for police use — were sold to Barneys Police and Hunting Supplies in August 2010 for a store credit of $7,565, White said.
That credit was still on Barneys’ books this month when the Police Department’s Special Response Team was looking into purchasing new weapons, White said.
“It’s unusual to have any credit,” the chief said. “That’s when I began to look closer into the issue.”
White, who was named chief in June, discovered that on Aug. 24, the Police Department sold 400 surplus guns to Barneys. The sale went through the bidding process and Barneys made the law enforcement agency the best offer, he said.
Less than a month later, on Sept. 15, the department sold 63 additional surplus weapons to Barneys, White said.
That sale, however, did not go through the bidding process.
White said he does not believe those involved in the transaction — including his predecessor Jeff LeDuff — intended on breaking the law.
“As I understand, he (LeDuff) was acting on guidance he received from his senior staff at the time,” White said. “I don’t believe he consciously set out to violate any state bid laws.”
No one was disciplined in the incident, White said. However, Barneys will be asked to return the $7,565, he said.
If the money is returned, it will go to the city-parish general fund, White said. It will not come back to the Police Department, he said.
Barneys was not asked to return any of the 63 weapons, White said. The status of those weapons, whether they’ve been sold, is not known.
To prevent this from happening again, White said, all purchase orders will come across his desk for review.
“What I want the people of Baton Rouge to believe is that this administration will be completely transparent and that when we make a mistake, we will readily identify it, openly identify it, inform the people of how we intend to fix it and ensure them that it will never happen again,” White said.
Calls made to LeDuff, Barneys and the city-parish purchasing office were not returned.