The Salisbury Police Department and the Wicomico County State’s Attorney released details on Friday about an investigation into a police department employee, accused of stealing items from the department’s evidence facility.
The Salisbury Police Department (SPD) recently began an audit of its property storage processes and procedures, in order to prepare for future recertification reviews of its evidence storage procedures. However on Thursday, February 6, SPD contacted the Wicomico County State’s Attorney because it was concerned that someone breached its facilities and committed several crimes.
On Friday, February 7, the Office of the State’s Attorney met with SPD for a briefing of the concerns and concluded, “the integrity of the property storage facilities at the Salisbury Police Department may have been compromised.”
Officials have not released any details about the SPD employee being investigated or what item(s) they believe were taken from the evidence facility.
The State’s Attorney requested a full investigation by an outside law enforcement agency, including an independent inventory and accounting of all property being held in the custody of the Salisbury Police Department. Officials are now looking at every criminal case charged by the SPD, or that contains evidence that is or was being held in the custody of the SPD, from April 22, 1997 through February 7, 2020.
The Maryland State Police is currently conducting a criminal investigation. Officials are not sure how long this extensive investigation, inventory and accounting will take.
Since 1987, the Salisbury Police Department has undergone 16 process reviews to examine its property storage facility. SPD says no inspection to date has ever revealed evidence of either breaches in protocol, or illegal activity in the property storage facility, or anywhere else within the SPD.
“The community needs to know that when they give you their trust, you’re going to do the right thing when they’re not looking,” says Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan. “As a law enforcement agency, integrity is paramount for us, so this situation is disappointing. It’s frustrating. Right now, our focus is on ensuring the secure operation of our property facility, and assisting the MSP and the State’s Attorney’s Office to determine exactly what happened. Moving forward, SPD is committed to taking every possible step to ensure that the trust of our citizens is well-placed.”
This investigation is ongoing. 47 ABC will provide updates as more information is released.