Carolina Public Press: New Asheville police evidence manager sizes up ‘huge undertaking’

Here’s an excerpt from the Carolina Public Press article:

If Tim Scapin, the Asheville Police Department’s new evidence and property manager, needed reminders of how sensitive his position is, he didn’t have to wait long for them.

Scapin started the job March 4. Three weeks later, his predecessor, former APD evidence manager William Lee Smith, agreed to plea guilty to stealing drug evidence valued between $10,000 and $30,000. And in the first week of June, defense attorneys in an Asheville rape case cited the APD’s past evidence-room dysfunction in a bid to have crucial DNA evidence from a “rape kit” dismissed.

The judge was not persuaded; he ruled that the evidence was sound, and the jury went on to find the defendant guilty of rape and related charges. But the deliberations offered a stark reminder of the potential consequences of a local law agency’s breakdown in evidence handling.

Even before these latest developments, Scapin knew what he was getting into, he told Carolina Public Press in a recent interview.

“It’s been well-publicized, the situation that led up to our current position,” he said. …

Despite the controversy over missing drugs, guns and money, “I didn’t have any reservations about taking the job,” Scapin said. “But I did know it was going to be a huge undertaking.”

One of Scapin’s major challenges will be to counter a climate of doubt about the APD and evidence in the wake of the scandal.

“I’m working every day to try to build that public confidence, that public trust, back in,” he said. “Obviously, the sins of someone’s past, I only have so much control over. But from the point I came in and going forward, we’re locking it down and it’s going to be on the straight and narrow.”


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