Audit reveals problems with Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office evidence room

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LE MARS, Iowa (KCAU) — A report said the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office had multiple problems with its evidence room

The report was released Tuesday after Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand conducted a special investigation in cooperation with the Division of Criminal Investigation of the sheriff’s office from April 1, 2015 through April 15, 2020 regarding integrity concerns of the office’s evidence inventory.

The report identified several concerns of evidence and/or case files not being properly maintained, including the following.

  • Six instances for which the quantities of items listed in the evidence log and/or case files did not agree with the evidence inventory. Specifically, 49 pills that were not maintained in evidence.
  • Five evidence bags that had been tampered with; however, descriptions in the corresponding evidence log entries and/or case files did not provide sufficient detail to determine what property, if any, was no longer in the evidence inventory.
  • Eighteen instances where the information maintained by the Sheriff’s Office did not contain sufficient information to determine the completeness of items held in evidence.

Sand reported that evidence bags that were taken from a former deputy of the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office were not included in the testing.

Sand said that the office did not have sufficient control inplace to “ensure the integrity of the evidence room.” He specifically said the lock to the evidence room did not work properly. This allowed access to the room even when locked.

In additions, Sand reported it was able to determine if Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) collections were properly deposited because adequate supporting documentation was not available.

The report offered recommendations to the sheriff’s office to strengthen controls to seized and forfeited property and evidence. That includes ensuring access is properly restricted and improving documentation details of the related case files and evidence log sheets.

Copies of this report have been filed with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Criminal Investigation, the Plymouth County Attorney’s Office, and the Attorney General’s Office. You can also view it below.

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