DA delays trials as APD evidence room investigation continues

DA delays trials as APD evidence room investigation continues-attachment0

District Attorney Ron Moore will hold in abeyance APD felony cases while the State Bureau of Investigation looks into missing evidence in the APD property room. Meanwhile, Chief Bill Hogan asserts that the APD was following proper procedure in an earlier evidence audit, and calls the problems “regrettable.”

Moore informed Xpress today that his office will delay all felony cases related to the APD while the audit proceeds. Currently, there are “a couple thousand” such cases, by his estimate. Hogan says that as it’s clear evidence for a particular case is present, it will then go forward.

Furthermore, Hogan says that after the departure of longtime property room manager Lee Smith in February, following an investigative suspension in January, the APD began a check of 10 percent of its evidence room, as required by the standards of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies. The audit was conducted by a third party, in this case former APD Maj. Ross Robinson.

Earlier, Moore said he instead “thought were having a full audit of guns, drugs and money” and was surprised when the APD didn’t notify him when the 10-percent check turned up “areas of concern.”

However, those “areas of concern,” according to Hogan, included misplaced or missing evidence — some of which was later found — but nothing that indicated the evidence of tampering, like the 397 missing Oxycodone pills that set off the SBI investigation. Hogan says Moore wasn’t notified because the audit report was only finished today.

The APD is cooperating fully with both the SBI and the DA’s office, Hogan says. While the current evidence room is sealed, the APD will use the emergency response vehicle bay area for storage, and has already secured it with alarms and locks.

“It’s regrettable under the best of circumstances, that you have evidence missing, because it causes us to look for who could have done this,” Hogan tells Xpress. “The unfortunate thing is that we have a lot of good men and women in this police department. Honest, dedicated, professional people and we trust them to handle evidence. The whole business of police work is being able to trust employees. The fatal flaw is: we’re all human beings.”

— David Forbes, senior news reporter

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2 thoughts on “DA delays trials as APD evidence room investigation continues

  1. This unfortunate turn of events offers one more reason why the war on drugs must end. We are wrecking lives, families, and communities; we have created the largest per capita prison population on earth; we are funding a drug war on the Mexican border and gang wars in our cities; we are funding some elements of the Taliban; we have driven addicts to property crime to support their habits; and we corrupt some law enforcement officers. One hundred years of drug suppression hasn’t even succeeded in keeping drugs out of our prison system, and if we can’t control it for people in cages, why do we imagine we can change human behavior in the wide world?

    Nothing about prohibition is working as planned, much like our brief experiment with alcohol prohibition. Couldn’t we, please, try another approach?

  2. MusicLover 45

    I agree with Cecil’s point, but that will not happen in our lifetime, if at all.

    “It’s regrettable under the best of circumstances, that you have evidence missing, because it causes us to look for who could have done this,” Hogan tells Xpress. Causes you to look for who could have done this, like it is an inconvenience for the police employees? Isn’t that what a police department is suppose to do, solve crimes, even in their own department? How about having an administrator who puts safeguards in place, with checks and balances, to ensure if this does occur, it is detected somewhat soon? You have a suspected problem with evidence and you check only 10% because that’s what the accreditation standard calls for? Do you think that is what is called for on a regular basis, not when you suspect there is a problem with an employee that handles your evidence?

    Really Chief Hogan?

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