More security after lost evidence

The Union Leader (Manchester, NH), Union Leader Corp., Pg. 02
BYLINE: DAN O'BRIEN, Union Leader Correspondent

Auburn, NH

AUBURN -- The police department is slated to install updated security equipment in its evidence room after missing evidence prompted a longtime lieutenant's resignation last month, officials said.

On Monday, the Auburn Board of Selectmen approved using $2,053 to update security measures at the police department's evidence room in response to evidence that was discovered missing in September.

The missing evidence led to the resignation of Lt. David Flight, a 21-year veteran of the department who served as its district court prosecutor.

It was shortly after Flight's Sept. 20 resignation that Police Chief Edward Picard asked the local police commission if further security measures could be put into place.

The commission unanimously voted in favor of the additional measures, which include an electronic key pad system on the door and a motion-sensor video camera inside the evidence room. Currently, an ordinary lock and key is the only security in place, Town Administrator Bill Herman said.

Because the money for the additional security is coming from a town account, the police commission had to request that the selectman approve using the funds. Officials said the $2,053 is coming from a dormant account with about $3,000 of unused money from the safety center complex construction a few years ago.

"All three of us were of the same opinion," Selectmen Chair Russell C. Sullivan said. "If we can do something better and not really struggle to finance it, it's the right thing to do." Picard was not available for comment yesterday afternoon.

Herman confirmed the new security measures are a direct response to the internal investigation involving Flight regarding missing evidence.
"It's definitely an end result of that," Herman said.

Neither police nor town officials have said publicly what went missing from the evidence room.

"In the internal investigation ... it was found there was evidence missing from the evidence room," Herman said. "The investigation itself was inconclusive, but there is evidence missing." Officials said the state Attorney General's Office was never involved in the case and it was only handled by the police department.

Flight was never charged criminally with any wrongdoing, but he submitted his resignation after meeting with the police commission and chief in a non-public session.

Flight was paid $17,053.27 to resign after reaching an agreement with the commission. That amount included $12,139 of wages and benefits from Sept. 20 through Nov. 19; $3,516 of wages and benefits while he was on paid administrative leave during the investigation; and $1,397 in accrued leave benefits. His annual salary was $60,952.

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