The Journal, journal-news.net
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Berkeley County, WV
We are saddened, but not really shocked, by the news that a corporal with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department confessed to taking nine OxyCodone pills from the BCSD evidence room. Law enforcement officers are human and face the same, if not more, temptations as the rest of the population.
The corporal has resigned his position. Considering the available information, if only nine pills were taken and this corporal has a good service record, we hope the court reviews his work history and his service to the community and consider probation at sentencing.
That's right, sentencing.
Regardless of work history, the corporal should have been arrested. The sheriff's department is a law enforcement agency. They arrest people and those rules apply in this case.
Wait, that is incorrect. The sheriff's department should not arrest the corporal because it should not investigate crimes within the BCSD. The correct action would have been to call officials from another agency and have them arrest the corporal.
We actually were shocked by the administrative handling of this incident.
The Berkeley County Sheriff's Department can't be allowed to investigate an incident involving one of its own officers and a theft from its evidence room. There must be an independent investigation.
It must be clear that no other drugs or evidence are missing from the evidence room, and it must be made clear by an independent investigation by an outside agency.
The handling of this case not only gives an appearance of impropriety, it was clearly improper.
While we're on the subject of impropriety, the BCSD and the Berkeley County Prosecuting Attorney's Office should not keep such crimes a secret from the public for a month. This incident only became public knowledge after the criminal case involving the pills reached the courthouse.
The sheriff and prosecuting attorney should have held a press conference and called for an independent investigation when the crime was discovered.
Elected officials are charged with a public trust. How can the public have faith in its law enforcement or court system when it appears officials don't follow the rules if the case involves one of their own?
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International Association for Property and Evidence
"Law Enforcement Serving the Needs of Law Enforcement"