Unsecured evidence storage systems in Utah courts put guns, money, drugs and other items at risk of being stolen or tampered with, a new state audit says. | Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — Unsecured evidence storage systems in Utah courts put guns, money, drugs and other items at risk of being stolen or tampered with, a new state audit says.

In its review of six district courts and three juvenile courts, the state auditor’s office found that some failed to take regular inventories, control and document access, use security measures, such as cameras and alarms, or protect evidence from damage.

“Failure to provide adequate management controls and procedures may lead to lost, stolen or compromised evidence as well as a loss of public trust,” auditors wrote. The audit did not identify the courts.

None of the court clerks or exhibit managers — those charged with evidence storage and safekeeping — that auditors interviewed were aware of an inventory, self-audit or independent audit ever being performed, according to the report.

“The court system’s current tools and evidence management practices are not adequate to implement the needed level of evidence security,” State Auditor John Dougall said.

Auditors found that none of the nine courts maintain access logs. Most did not have multiple requirements to enter the evidence room such as a personnel card or biometric identification, and four rooms were accessible with just a hard key, leaving no audit trial.

Some clerks use an electronic management system to account for evidence, though it’s not capable of generating an inventory list, the report says. Others rely on handwritten logs or notes to track and find items.

Guns and drugs have the greatest likelihood of being stolen when they’re no longer needed for a case and waiting to be destroyed. Those things could be taken directly from …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

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