Figures in sheriff probe given police protection

Controller Alan Butkovitz: Called for forensic audit.
Controller Alan Butkovitz: Called for forensic audit.
Posted: January 11, 2011

Philadelphia police are now keeping watch over the homes of two central figures in the ongoing shake-up of the city Sheriff's Office.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross said last night that district cops are "periodically" checking on the houses of City Controller Alan Butkovitz and acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley, as a precaution.

Ross said that neither official asked for any police protection, but he said that the move seemed prudent given all the recent and dramatic upheaval of the office.

None of the cops who are keeping tabs on the pols' homes will be taken out of their normal patrol assignments, Ross noted.

"No one is being taken from their 9-1-1 responsibilities," he said.

In October, Butkovitz called for a forensic audit of the Sheriff's Office, saying that it refused to cooperate when his auditors tried to examine the office's accounts, which were valued at $53 million.

Thousands of dollars were missing from the petty cash fund, Butkovitz said at the time, along with countless bank statements and financial records.

Deeley took over the office when then-Sheriff John Green resigned on Dec. 31.

Gov. Rendell later nominated her to remain as the sheriff until next year, although it's unclear if she will be confirmed by the state Senate.

Last week, Deeley removed four high-level staffers and fired contractors who had been doing title work for the office.

She also suspended foreclosure sales for 50 days, and appointed former City Controller Joe Vignola as her chief deputy for finance and accountability.

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