May 31, 2023
May 31—The Daviess County Sheriff's Office has corrected some of the issues identified by the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police that caused the office to lose its accreditation earlier this year.
The Association of Chiefs of Police found issues at the sheriff's department's evidence warehouse.
Sheriff Brad Youngman said previously the Association of Chiefs of Police, which accredits law enforcement agencies, did not know the warehouse existed when it accredited the sheriff's office and did inspections in 2015 and 2020.
Accreditation is voluntary, and shows an agency is following the best law enforcement practices in a variety of areas, including evidence storage. An accredited agency receives benefits, such as a reduction in its liability insurance costs.
Former sheriff's department officials said previously they did now know the warehouse had to be inspected as part of the accreditation process.
Youngman took office in January.
Youngman said he became concerned about the warehouse not meeting accreditation standards after attending a KACP meeting. When KACP's Executive Director Shawn Butler came to inspect the warehouse, several areas of noncompliance were found.
Youngman said Monday the office received funding from Daviess Fiscal Court to make several upgrades to the warehouse, such as installing more security cameras and an alarm system, getting rodent control and adding weather stripping to keep water from running in under the garage door during rains.
The focus of those repairs was doing what needed to be done immediately to preserve evidence, Youngman said.
"We weren't going to be able to do all of it at once," Youngman said.
Fiscal Court members "have been very understanding," Youngman said. "Their attitude has been nothing but, 'what can we do to help fix this?' "
The Association of Chiefs of Police identified other items at the warehouse that would have to be addressed for the office to be re-accredited.
Youngman said he plans to seek funds in the department's next budget to make additional fixes at the warehouse, and that the department would not seek re-accreditation right away.
"I don't know when we'll apply for accreditation," Youngman said. "We have been pretty busy making changes and improvements around here."
Youngman said, "it's nice to say you're accredited," but said losing accreditation doesn't affect sheriff's department daily operations.
The department's detective staff has been removing old evidence stored in the warehouse that was ordered to be destroyed by a court order but never disposed of over the years, Youngman said.
In the future, Youngman said he would like to have a full-time evidence custodian to manage evidence. The Owensboro Police Department has three full-time staff handling evidence, Youngman said.
Department detectives have "been out there every Friday" clearing out old evidence, Youngman said, and that the warehouse looks "so much more like an evidence room after the hard work they've done."