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Audit criticizes operation of Wichita Police Department’s property, evidence unit

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City Manager Robert Layton informed the public of the 2021 audit this week.

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By Kylie Cameron – Kansas News Service

A 407-page audit of the Wichita Police Department’s Property and Evidence Unit found various issues with the storage of evidence and with staffing and training.

It also found that evidence was not being properly documented, leading to concerns that some evidence – including material linked to homicide and sexual assault cases – could be missing.

“Conducting required routine audits can identify problems before issues become a newsworthy story,” the audit read.

City Manager Robert Layton informed the public of the 2021 audit this week.

“These are significant problems that present significant challenges,” Layton said at a news conference.

Interim Police Chief Lemuel Moore, who is retiring this week, says evidence thought to be missing could be found through a future audit.

“I don’t see anything criminal from my standpoint,” Moore said, “but I see that the transition, it’s looking ugly right now.

“But within that transition, when the audit is done …. you’re going to find the evidence that is being claimed to be missing in the warehouse. It’s just that you have to figure out what shelf it is on.”

A future audit will begin soon and staff within the Police Department will document every piece of evidence in the storage facility, which is just west of City Hall.

Other issues found in the audit include:

– Lack of properly documenting evidence

– Storage facility not properly maintained and cleaned

– Evidence not being purged at the rate it should be, leading to thousands of items being stored that don’t need to be

– Nonexistent security policy and no visitor-access logs

– Inadequate drug and money storage

– Inadequate check out system for evidence taken to court or crime lab

The audit was made public as the city is looking for its next Wichita police chief after the departure of former Chief Gordon Ramsay in March.

It also comes as the consulting firm Jensen Hughes begins its investigation into the Police Department after racist and violent text messages between law enforcement officers were made public earlier this year.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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