Audit report: No evidence missing following storage-related concern with Wichita Police Department

Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 11:27 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - New information came to light Wednesday night regarding concerns about where Wichita police store evidence. FactFinder 12 obtained an internal audit that shows, at least currently, the City of Wichita says there is no missing evidence.

Last month, Wichita city leaders addressed concerns about potential problems with the Wichita Police Department’s Property and Evidence facility after 12 NEWS sent an open records request for information on the concerns. Wichita police then requested information about it which prompted a city investigation where an internal audit would go through each case.

FactFinder 12 obtained an internal audit that shows, at least currently, the City of Wichita is saying there is no missing evidence.

“I am very happy with these results,” City of Wichita Internal Auditor Kristina Rose said.

Some raised concerns after Wichita City Manager Bob Layton and Mayor Brandon Whipple held a press conference announcing the city would be investigating WPD’s Property and Evidence facility. If evidence is missing or stored inappropriately, it could hurt a victim’s case in court.

“What we did, there’s two parts to the sexual assault kits. The first one was to make sure they are being stored properly. The second part is to actually do a complete inventory of it,” Rose explained. “The fist part has been completed; they’re being stored properly. Evidence has all been generated by either the KBI or (the) forensic science center, so we’re completely okay there, as well.”

From the audit’s first report, it reiterates that sexual assault kits are being stored correctly. And after counting all the money in the property-and-evidence facility, 1,700 other cases were verified. The report notes the discrepancy percentage as less than one percentage point.

“There was no cash missing. There was a little bit of discrepancy but that’s due to human error and not calculating properly when it’s turned in,” Rose explained. “But that’s to be expected. Now, we’re looking into the gun inventory and we’re going case-by-case to make sure they’re all there as well. There was some prior concerns, and so far, we’ve gone through over 900 cases and they’re all perfectly fine.”

Through the investigation from FactFinder 12, we found the new records system the WPD uses to store evidence could be an explanation for why it looked like there was missing evidence

“I’m pretty confident that when this whole process is done, you’re going to find out that everything is there. Maybe it was mislabeled or put into the wrong bin, and the NICHE records system has attributed some of that,” WPD Interim Chief Troy Livingston said. “But, we’re working through that and we’ll review our policies to make sure that the officers are submitting evidence correctly.”

The WPD said it’s assigning more officers to handle the evidence and will be conducting regular audits. Rose said there should be another update in about a month.