Evidence points to evidence mismanagement
June 12, 2012
It costs county taxpayers nearly $700,000 annually to underwrite the maintenance of property and evidence rooms for county law enforcement agencies, yet those functions — vital to the administration of justice — are in chaos in many county agencies.
That’s one finding of the 2001-20012 San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury, which issued its annual report late last week featuring an analysis of evidence room mismanagement in county agencies.
Although deficiencies were noted by the Grand Jury in numerous agencies, its findings also noted that District Attorney Gerald Shea’s office does not even have formal, written property and evidence retention policies.
Also noteworthy was Paso Robles Police Department officials’ inability to account for evidence items purged by an ongoing data entry error. That department has eliminated a staff position responsible for handling and accounting for evidence and property due to budget reductions, making it the only agency on the county without such personnel.
Paso Robles police officials also do not “store guns, money and drugs in a neat and orderly manner.” That department was not alone in that failing, but according to a Grand Jury recommendation, “The Paso Robles Police Department should consider using the services of POST (California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training) or an independent consulting service to conduct a full review of its property/evidence room function.”