Council will hear first public presentation on evidence room audit July 24

A Blueline Systems representative will give City Council a July 24 presentation on the Asheville Police Department evidence room audit the company completed earlier this year. The content of the presentation, requested by Mayor Terry Bellamy, is unknown.

Unusually, the city doesn’t have any summary or documents related to the presentation on its electronic agenda and city staff are unaware of the specifics of the report.

“I haven’t seen any advance documentation about it because it’s being presented by a representative from the company,” Brian Postelle, a public information specialist with the city, tells Xpress. “We don’t have any documentation about that.”

He added that Bellamy requested the presentation, but he didn’t know when she’d made that request. Postelle later clarified that all of Council, not just the mayor, wanted the presentation.

Both the city of Asheville and District Attorney Ron Moore are the targets of an open records lawsuit by local media, including Xpress, Carolina Public Press, The Asheville Citizen-Times, WCQS and WLOS over failure to release the audit of missing evidence, which was completed in January.

New APD Chief William Anderson mentioned evidence room changes at a May 11 sit-down with local media and again in brief remarks at the May 22 Council meeting. But he specifically refused to divulge any details about the extent of the missing evidence, the state of the evidence room, the audit contents, or the specifics of security changes made to address the previous issues. Following the lawsuit, Council discussed the matter in closed session at its June 26 meeting.

The presentation will mark the first time the topic has been front-and-center at a Council meeting.

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One thought on “Council will hear first public presentation on evidence room audit July 24

  1. Dr. Roger Hartley

    As a Professor at Arizona I served on a public advisory commission dealing with evidence in a fit crime lab. This stuff is tricky. My default position is transparency and the right of the public to know. Concerns of prosecution, police, and cities are Oren many of the following: an ongoing investigation into the wrongdoing and interests of personnel privacy necessitate proceeding with caution, fear that hundreds of guiltily…and maybe not guilty accused and convicted felons will win appeals or win exoneration due to mishandle evidence, lost evidence or the like, and their is the fact that report details can become evidence in lawsuits for various reasons.

    Avian, my default is pure transparency until someone provides a legal or ethical reason for something less. What are the actual reasons for not releasing the audit? If its the fear of some of these costs then that is not enough. If our justice system is based on anything it is that punishment hurts and pevents future bad choices. It is rationale but nonsensical if his were the reason the audits arent released.

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