Former property room manager William Lee Smith shows the Citizen’s Police Academy group bins of guns inside the APD evidence room in March 2009
In March 2009, the Asheville Police Department gave a tour of the evidence room as part of the Citizens’ Police Academy program. Xpress has obtained photographs from one of those citizens, providing a glimpse inside what would later become ground zero of a major scandal.
Last year longtime property room manager William Lee Smith resigned while under investigative suspension, the room was sealed after evidence was found missing, and auditor Mike Wright found a state of deep disarray. It remains unclear how such a state of affairs escaped the oversight of APD command and city staff: Internal walkthroughs gave the evidence room a clean bill of health in the years leading up to the scandal.
In these photos, Smith tells the tour group about the evidence room, showing them guns, drugs, money and confiscated personal items in the APD’s custody.