Franklin County Sheriff Gary Toelke said his department has compiled records of credit card use by his officers under a Sunshine Law request filed by a St. Louis television station.
A reporter with KMOV Channel 4 filed the request for records of both the use of credit cards and cellphones by all Franklin County departments.
Toelke said his department does not have any county-issued cellphones. The county stopped that practice some years ago.
“My officers use their personal cellphones and they are not reimbursed for the cost of the phones,” the sheriff explained.
“We use credit cards for a variety of things, including travel for training and extraditions and we do purchase some small equipment items,” Toelke said.
The sheriff said he did redact some credit card information which involved housing a witness. That information will not be released for security reasons because the investigation is ongoing, he noted.
“I’ve called the reporter who filed the request and invited him to come to my office and I will explain these items to him,” Toelke said Monday, noting that the reporter had not answered his phone message that day.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said he was told that the news station has requested the same information from other counties within the St. Louis metropolitan region, including some in Illinois.
He told The Missourian that he assumes the requests were filed after the mayor of Valley Park allegedly used a city credit card to purchase about $5,000 worth of items including tools and high-end appliances, according to an investigation by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Griesheimer said the county is complying with the request, made under the state’s Sunshine Law, but won’t have a lot of information to provide.
That’s because most county departments don’t use credit cards, Commissioner Terry Wilson said.
Prosecuting Attorney Bob Parks told The Missourian that his department previously used credit cards for the purchase of small items like office supplies but it became such a hassle that he discontinued the practice.