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