June 12, 2018
A bill up for debate today aims to clean up the state's scandal-plagued evidence rooms by ordering police departments file twice-a-year spot audits with the state, with a full accounting of all evidence every five years.
The measure before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary was filed by state Rep. Mark J. Cusack of Braintree, where in 2016 investigators discovered $400,000 missing from the police department's evidence lock-up as well as drugs and some 60 firearms.
The scandal put hundreds of criminal cases at risk, and the veteran officer responsible for the room took her own life.
"I discovered there's no statewide minimum standards around handling of evidence or auditing or doing inventory checks. It's up to each department's internal policies," Cusack told the Herald.
His bill requires departments big or small to audit a random 10 percent of its evidence stores — or at least 10 items for smaller departments — twice a year and file those audits with the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security "to make sure every department is compliant."