Police Drug Evidence Abuse Probe Launched By RICHARD BRENNEMAN

Tuesday January 17, 2006

Prosecutors and Internal Affairs investigators have launched a criminal investigation into the handling of drug evidence at the Berkeley Police Department. 

BPD Chief Doug Hambleton said in a statement released Friday that he ordered on Jan. 6 a review of drug evidence handling which uncovered “irregularities in the handling of some of the drug evidence.” 

The criminal investigation “to determine if any improper or illegal conduct may have occurred” was launched after the chief met to discuss the findings with Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff. 

According to a report published in the Oakland Tribune, the investigation centers on impounded heroin and one officer, a sergeant with over two decades on the force who has worked on the narcotics and robbery units. 

A parallel administrative investigation of possible violation of department policies and procedures will be conducted by BPD’s own Internal Affairs Bureau. 

“The public should be assured that Chief Hambleton and all members of the BPD take this matter very seriously,” declared the department statement.