Audit reveals evidence missing from Memphis Police

Audit reveals evidence stolen from Memphis Police

(WMC-TV) - For at least eight years, evidence records have disappeared in the Memphis Police property room.

Internal auditors gave the previous police director's property and evidence room operation a satisfactory rating.

But one council member says the audit uncovered a major weakness that could indicate a theft cover-up.

When Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong took over the department last year, Councilwoman Janis Fullilove called for an audit of every unit under his division.

"I didn't want Director Armstrong walking into a snake pit and fingers being pointed at him when they should be directed at Godwin," said Fullilove.

City auditors gave the property and evidence room a satisfactory performance rating under former Police Director Larry Godwin.

"Even though it was found to be satisfactory, and that's a C, there were some things that were suspect," Fullilove explained.

Auditors found 586 records missing from the items table.

Ten instances when accounts had improper access to delete audit entries.

And nine user accounts had access to delete items in the evidence tables.

"Could have been drugs, could have been money, could have been the missing ammunition. It could have been so many things," said Fullilove.

Auditors say two user accounts were generic, allowing those users to anonymously delete records.

They say, "The delete capability allows an individual to perpetrate an irregularity and conceal it with no systematic means of detection."

Fullilove and Councilman Lee Harris, the respective chair and vice chair of the City Council Audit Committee, say an investigation is warranted.

"We take the report seriously and I'm sure Director Armstrong takes the report seriously and I'm sure he will make the reforms necessary," said Councilman Harris.

Last November, auditors uncovered missing ammunition in Godwin's Organized Crime Unit.

The council members trust Armstrong will tighten this ship like OCU.

"I have no reason to suspect he's not going to step up," said Harris.

"Director Armstrong said he's cleaning up this mess. Hopefully, there's going to be an audit trail," said Fullilove.

She will ask if MPD can connect the Real Time Crime Center cameras to the property and evidence room.

Director Armstrong is scheduled to meet with council members in the coming days to talk about remedies.

Godwin is now the deputy commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.

He declined to comment on this matter.

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