Philadelphia sheriff accused of misspending funds and touting AI-generated news articles

The sheriff of Philadelphia was accused on Monday of losing firearms, spending thousands of dollars on a new mascot design and DJ services, and trumpeting positive but fake news stories produced by a chatbot.

Sheriff Rochelle Bilal’s office spent $9,250 on a new mascot costume designed around a “Wild Western” theme, according to a Monday report by the Philadelphia Inquirer, in addition to about $40,000 spent on companies to produce branded merchandise, including fidget spinners and backpacks, and at least $8,000 on a professional DJ.

The sheriff’s department defended the report in a statement on Monday, arguing the mascot, Deputy Sheriff Justice, “is a community outreach initiative designed to counteract bullying and reach school-age children in a more comprehensive and engaging way. It encourages them to love themselves, and each other, and build positive
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