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Audit of Wichita Police Department finds no missing, mishandled evidence

Enter Article September 21st, 2023

A property and evidence audit of the Wichita Police Department found that no evidence handled by the department was missing or inappropriately reviewed or recorded.

The process lasted about a year and was overseen by external auditor Kristina Rose. She said the highest concerns were missing evidence and cash. However, a review of the list of items thought to be missing showed that some were incorrectly coded as missing and others were part of cases that had been dismissed but not updated within the system.

Rose said all evidence was handled properly, including sexual assault kits, and that the City of Wichita's property and evidence department was operating appropriately.

Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan said that despite there being no findings of missing or mishandled evidence, the review found several areas in which the department can improve. Police have purged about 30,000 pieces of evidence, cleaned the facility, reviewed policies and internal procedures, reclassified positions, instituted annual inventories and upgraded security.

'When we go to court to prosecute defendants, we have to make sure that we can access that evidence," Sullivan said. "We also have to make sure that when an appeal occurs several years after an arrest is made that we can still find that evidence."

Changes come as the WPD seeks accreditation through the Kansas Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. City staff said the policies previously in place wouldn't have been up to par.

"This third-party oversight of accreditation, which is that seal of approval, (is) to show that we're not just doing a job good enough, we're doing it best," Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said.

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