(Des Moines) — State Auditor, Rob Sand, today released a report on a special investigation of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office for the period of April 1, 2015 through April 15, 2020. The special investigation was conducted as a result of concerns regarding the integrity of the Sheriff’s Office evidence inventory. The special investigation was conducted in cooperation with the Division of Criminal Investigation. Sand reported comparisons of the types and quantities of seized property recorded in the evidence log and/or case files to property maintained in the evidence inventory identified several concerns, including:
- Six instances for which the quantities of items listed in the evidence log and/or case files did not agree with the evidence inventory. Specifically, 49 pills that were not maintained in evidence.
- Five evidence bags that had been tampered with; however, descriptions in the corresponding evidence log entries and/or case files did not provide sufficient detail to determine what property, if any, was no longer in the evidence inventory.
- 18 instances where the information maintained by the Sheriff’s Office did not contain sufficient information to determine the completeness of items held in evidence.
Sand also reported evidence bags seized from the personal property of a former Deputy by DCI agents were not included in the testing performed. In addition, sufficient controls were not in place to ensure the integrity of the evidence room. Specifically, the lock on the evidence room door did not consistently function properly which allowed access to the room even when locked and independent comparisons of the items recorded and maintained in inventory were not performed.
Sand also reported it was not possible to determine if all Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) collections were properly deposited because adequate supporting documentation was not available.
The report includes recommendations to the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office to strengthen controls surrounding seized and forfeited property and evidence, including ensuring access is properly restricted and improving documentation details of the related case files and evidence log sheets.
Copies of this report have been filed with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Plymouth County Attorney Office, and the Attorney General’s Office. A copy of the report is available for review on the State Auditor’s web site at www.auditor.iowa.gov/reports/audit-reports/.