BRAINTREE, Mass. - After an evidence scandal rocked the Braintree Police Department, changes were made to ensure it never happened again. And now the department says it has one of the most secure evidence rooms in the country.
Inside the police department below ground level, Boston 25 News was allowed inside the brand new evidence room.
"We knew we needed to have several layers of security redundancy," said Braintree Police Chief Paul Shastany.
Back in 2016 under the department's former chief, an investigation uncovered money, drugs, and cash was stolen or misplaced from the evidence room. The former evidence officer took her own life when the problem started coming to light.
Tonight at 5:15pm and 6:45pm on @boston25. We're taking you inside the new @BraintreePolice evidence room after the 2016 evidence scandal that led to hundreds of criminal cases being thrown out. pic.twitter.com/meVZKcXnZA— Robert Goulston (@rgoulston) April 18, 2019
"That incident did not define who were are. It defined a problem to challenge ourselves to move beyond," said Shastany.
When Shastany was brought in to lead the department, he wanted to make their evidence room a gold standard.
"We were unable to find evidence rooms that have the level of security and redundancy that this has," he said.
Officer Stephen Wallace, who helped design the room, showed Boston 25 how officers tag evidence with radio frequency technology which tracks the evidence every step of the way.
Two evidence officers, their manager, and another high-level official are the only ones allowed back in the evidence room. Because guns, drugs, and money are the most susceptible to being stolen, they have another layer of security in separate areas. Officers can even use a device to find evidence if it - for some reason - was misplaced.
The new room is designed so if someone did try to take a piece of evidence and leave the room, an alert would go out to command staff and it is all recorded on cameras in a third party site.
The room is now located in the space where the old firing range was in the building and it cost about $500,000 to build.
"And now I believe we are at a high standard that others can begin to emulate. So we took that pain and really turned into a gain and the department and personnel never stopped working," said Mayor Joe Sullivan.
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