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EPD Property Audit Leads to Criminal Investigation

An audit of the Eugene Police Department’s Property Control Unit (PCU) has revealed 1,116 items missing from its storage rooms, including guns, drugs and jewelry. Internal affairs and Oregon State Police are investigating three EPD employees, who have not yet been named.

Evidence Control Systems’ EPD audit criticizes the PCU for not have clear policies for dealing with property and for underutilizing technology in tracking the items. Among other problems, it says that there is no written policy on how to proceed when evidence is determined to be missing, no statistical review of the inventory and no formalized policy that mandates an annual review of the entire inventory for purging. The number of items in the PCU grew by about 29,000 items to a total of 91,000 items between 2007 and 2012.

In addition, the report says that evidence lockers aren't entirely secure: "a slender person could easily stand inside the tall locker and basically reach behind the locker and remove evidence from at least a dozen lockers ..."

Since the audit was completed in August, EPD has doubled the staffing in the PCU from five to 10. “Both during the audit process and after receiving the ECS report, Eugene Police staff began to implement corrective measures, write new policies, and create new standard operating procedures,” an EPD press release reads.

“The present supervisor has a complete understanding of what needs to be done,” the audit reads, but his role as supervisor of the forensic unit takes away from his supervision of the PCU. The PCU supervisor requested the audit. In January, the EPD added a tenured full-time supervising sergeant to the unit.

A memo from the PCU supervisor to Chief Pete Kerns states, “Mr. Latta also commented that this audit was the most difficult audit he has performed in his 60 plus audits due to the lack of procedures and consistency in tasks performed. He said to make sure that I mention that ours is not the worst, just the most difficult.”