Performance Audit of New Orleans PD Evidence Room Released

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General (OIG) released in early December a report titled “Performance Audit of the New Orleans Police Department Central Evidence & Property Section (CE&P).” OIG auditors tested CE&P policies and procedures on property and evidence in custody of CE&P between January 2014 and March 2014.

Auditors noted that NOPD has accomplished several significant improvements to CE&P including:
 
  • Currency exhibits submitted to custody of CE&P facility are deposited in an interest- bearing City account on a weekly basis.
  • A climate-controlled DNA section was added to CE&P and all DNA exhibits were barcoded and cataloged in this location.
  • The CE&P Procedures Manual was revised to adopt professional standards recommended by the International Association for Property and Evidence, Inc. (IAPE).
 
Despite NOPD’s improvements, auditors who tested 137 pieces of evidence and property in CE&P custody noted findings that place evidence and property in CE&P at a high risk of theft or misplacement. The findings include:
 
  • Failure to dispose of evidence post-Katrina despite the fact that thousands of pieces of evidence and contraband property had exceeded all statutes of limitations.
  • Failure to complete annual inventories and audits in accordance with NOPD policy.
  • Actual location of evidence and property exhibits did not agree to storage locations
  • listed in the computer data system and computer inventory reports included exhibits no
  • longer in CE&P custody.
  • Inventory reports obtained from the bar coded evidence analysis tracking software did
  • not include a complete listing of evidence and property in the custody of CE&P.

“Evidence management has clearly improved but continued improvement is needed,” stated Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux.

 
In June 2014, CE&P management met with members of the District Attorney and City Attorney offices to establish a process for attaining signed court orders necessary to dispose of evidence. During the meeting a court order was issued for the purging of 500 bicycles stored in evidence for which all statutes of limitations had expired.

NOPD fully or partially agreed with all OIG recommendations to findings in the report.
 

 

 
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