Since taking office as McCreary County Sheriff last month, Randy Waters has been working to streamline and update the department as much as possible.
One of the bigger tasks he has tackled in the past few weeks was the construction of a new evidence room, and clearing out the old one, which was little more than a closet in the hallway, filled with items from cases nearly 20 years old.
“The security closet has been in use since the Sheriff’s Office moved to this building in 1994,” Waters said. “When going through and inventorying the evidence, we found several items that are from cases that have long been closed, but never destroyed.”
As part of the process of clearing out the old files and evidence from the small closet, Waters has converted an unused office in the building to a larger, and more secure evidence room.
The new evidence room has much more space than the old room, making it easier to locate items when needed for trial or an investigation.
“We fit new shelving in the room, each space noted by a unique number, which will allow us to quickly and efficiently retrieve a piece of evidence when the Court requires it,” Waters said.
A computer system for logging and securing the evidence has also been put in place.
As an officer brings in evidence, they will secure it in a locker located outside the room and notify the Sheriff or Chief Deputy Tom Smith of the material. Those two men will be the only ones with access to the room, and will secure the evidence in the room, logging its location, case number, date of storage and other pertinent information in to a data base so it can be quickly retrieved when needed.
To further provide security, the room is covered with a camera system that is recorded and can be constantly monitored. An alarm system will soon be installed as well.
Sheriff Waters noted, that when cleaning out the evidence locker, many of the items from non-active cases, will be destroyed once a court order is obtained. Some confiscated firearms will be sent to the Kentucky State Police as part of their weapon buyback program, and the proceeds will be used to purchase new vests for the department.
Sheriff Waters also noted he is in the process of obtaining additional new equipment for his staff, including new cameras, tazers and fingerprint kits.