Sheriff making changes to evidence room in light of audit

Sheriff making changes to evidence room in light of audit

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 sheriff's office is making changes to prevent evidence tampering.

A legislative audit revealed thousands of dollars in cash and guns were stolen from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department in 2014.

Jody Dotson was the sheriff at the time of the audit, and in light of the findings, newly-elected sheriff, Jeff Yates, is pleased with the changes the department is making.

Yates said they do not want any evidence to go missing ever again. That is why the department has new protocols for the evidence room.

The room is protected with a new lock and only two detectives have keys. No one, not even the sheriff, can be alone in the evidence room. Later this year, Yates hopes to install a computer system that will bar code all of the evidence.

Another big change Yates initiated was opening a bank account for evidence. "We take any seized money that we have, we go to the bank with it to where we don't keep any money in the evidence room at all, in the locker at all," Yates said.

Other changes coming soon to the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department include new trucks and new uniforms.

Regarding the audit, Yates said it concerns a time before his leadership but the department is cooperating and dealing with it.

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