The police force of Kentucky’s largest city is scrambling to save evidence after a pipe burst in the Louisville Metro Police Department’s evidence locker, just another side-effect of poor building conditions at the department’s headquarters.
Over the past few months, reports of leaking pipes at the LMPD headquarters has prompted media investigations, OSHA complaints, lawsuits and even relocation of police officers and staff from the building.
“It’s a horrible situation for our city,” Louisville attorney Brian Butler said of the most recent pipe burst, which happened over the weekend.
While LMPD would not say just how much evidence got wet, Butler’s concern rests on the fact that evidence has to be substantially in the same condition as when it was seized, which could result in otherwise normal trial conditions going south.
“That could potentially compromise a case,” he said.
Mona Mills, whose sister was murdered in 1981, says that one piece of evidence can make or break a case, which often has considerable significance to those affected by the crime.
“It’s a 150 percent important. Cases linger on this evidence,” she said. “[I’m] angry, very angry. If you’re evidence is gone, it’s just a crying shame.”
The city has been quoted $15 million for building repairs to bring the structure up to spec, while already over $140 million behind on repairs to several government structures, including LMPD HQ.
According WAVE3, the department would not comment on the matter or allow news crews to survey the damage of the evidence room due to the sensitive nature of the materials inside.
The city is expected to move more employees -including detectives- to another building. Much like a captain going down with his ship, the Chief is expected to remain in the waterlogged structure.
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