Property Room News Blotter - February 2014

Drugs, money, and valuables: Put them in one place and someone will try to find a way to "borrow" a little for themselves. Unfortunately, stories about illegal activity in police departments' property and evidence rooms are all too common. Here's your latest roundup of headlines from across the United States.


Dixfield Police Department evaluation reviewed
DIXFIELD, Maine - February 11, 2014 - An evaluation by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association offered different ways to improve the Dixfield Police Department -- and one major area of focus was the department's evidence room.
Police Chief Richard Pickett was quoted in a Sun Journal article: "One thing we're going to do is cut a slot in the door so that we can drop evidence inside. For example, if you're out working at night, you come in from doing a burglary and the evidence technician responsible for handling everything is gone, you could package it up, drop it in the slot, and we'd have a place where they could log what they dropped in there.
“The only people who would have a key to the room is the evidence technician and myself,” Pickett said. “The next morning, the evidence technician would take the evidence, place it in her own log and place it in the evidence locker.”
Hollywood police find untested rape kits in evidence room refrigerator
HOLLYWOOD, Fl. - February 10, 2014 - Officials in Hollywood, Fl. are investigating why 94 rape kits -- some dating back to 2005 -- were found, unanalyzed, in a property and evidence room refrigerator.
The discovery came after a department-wide audit ordered by Frank Fernandez, who took over as police chief in August 2013. The department now has procedures in place to track rape kits, and kits that come into the evidence room are processed to the Broward Sheriff's Office the next day.
Egremont police officers testify on hearing on evidence breach
EGREMONT, Mass. - February 11, 2014 - Two officers admitted to breaking into their own agency's evidence room using a master key and opening the evidence locker. One of the officers had "expressed interest in seeing the drugs because he hadn't been familiarized with them during part-time police academy training," wrote reporter John Sakata in a Berkshire Eagle article.
As a result of this process violation, lawyers representing two men facing drug charges have moved to have their clients' cases dismissed in Southern Berkshire (Mass.) District Court.
Carroll Sheriff's Dept. target of KSP investigation
CARROLL COUNTY, Ken. - February 15, 2014 - From a Madison Courier article: "The Kentucky State Police Drug Enforcement Branch executed a search warrant for the evidence room of the Carroll County Sheriff's Office late last year after allegations of mishandled and missing evidence.
"State police were looking for evidence or personal property seized during two arrests; an evidence binder with documentation of the collections, storage, removal and destruction of evidence; and other criminal case files relating to the cases, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in the Carroll County Circuit Court Clerk's Office on Feb. 4."
Iota police officer arrested in theft of weapons, cash
IOTA, La. - February 14, 2014 - Suspicion that weapons had gone missing from the Iota Police Department's evidence room eventually led to the arrest of Daniel Broussard, a full-time officer with the Iota PD.
Broussard was charged with theft of money, felony theft of several weapons, and malfeasance in office.
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Court Case Update

FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE went through a nearly three-year ordeal in the New Hampshire court system, but eventually emerged unscathed. On April 4, 2008, the New Hampshire Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision of a lower court to exclude expert testimony regarding fingerprint evidence in the case of The State of New Hampshire v. Richard Langill. The case has been remanded back to the Rockingham County Superior Court.