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Questions raised over Cuyahoga County Sheriff deputies’ expense reports

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found 3 supervisors with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department have been taken off a unit that investigates police use of deadly force cases. The move was made after a review of expenses from a deputy training trip.

The I-TEAM filed a records request for the expenses from that trip. It happened last year. 15 Cuyahoga deputies went to a week-long seminar just outside of Ft.Lauderdale, FL. The Cuyahoga Co Sheriff has been preparing for his office to handle a growing number of investigations into police use-of-force, so the training was part of that push.

The biggest questions came from the rental of two Lincoln Navigators and two Ford Explorers at about $1,000 apiece. The rental car company lists them as “cool cars”.

The I-TEAM called that rental car company and found vans could’ve been rented for hundreds of dollars less a day.

The I-TEAM also noticed that the deputies didn’t fly back until the day after the training ended. Plus, in multiple cases, the county paid $91 apiece for deputies to park at Hopkins Airport.

We also reviewed food receipts for some pricey meals, but a county spokesperson stressed to us the deputies only received a standard $35/day from the county for food.

The county would not make any of its officials available for an on camera interview. When we asked about any restrictions on renting cars during trips, spokesperson Mary Louise Madigan said, “We expect people to use good judgment based on needs.”

The county says no taxpayer money was used. Instead, funds seized during drug cases. However, that is still public money.

The I-TEAM reached out to the supervisors taken off the deadly force team, but we were unable to reach them, or they didn’t call back.

Taxpayers we met reacted by telling us how they don’t want any public dollars wasted.