Pubdate: Sun, 07 Oct 2012
Source: Register-Herald, The (Beckley, WV)
Copyright: 2012 The Register-Herald


BECKLEY - A now former employee of the Beckley City Police Department
has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of taking prescription
pills that were being stored as evidence in drug cases and

With pills taken from what was thought to be a secured environment,
the acts of this evidence room technician not only shake the
foundation of law enforcement, but also deliver us with a steely-eyed
look into just how deep, how serious the prescription drug crisis really is.

What took place is certainly crushing on a number of

We can't imagine the range of emotions that the many BPD officers
committed to battling this epidemic have had since the news came
forward that numerous drug probes have been swept out the door by the
tampering that was done to the chain of evidence.

No real hard and fast numbers have been put out there as to just how
many investigations and prosecutions were compromised, but it is
surely dozens, maybe hundreds.

Police officers put their lives on the line every day in the normal
line of duty. When you start talking about drug investigations, the
chances of them being injured, or even killed, are heightened

So just when it seemed like they were taking more drug dealers off our
streets, these miscreants have to be set free.

The public's trust has also been severely damaged.

While the U.S. Attorney believes the violations of law in this case
begin and end with the one evidence room technician, the shadow cast
unfortunately covers many.

And then you must consider what was driving the employee. Was it
addiction? For financial gain? There was a problem, another example of
how drugs can make good turn bad.

This event reveals perhaps the darkest side of the fight we face
against drugs.

What happened here is deeply saddening. Yet this should only serve to
strengthen our resolve as a society to keep the focus on the problem
all the time.

For as soon as we turn our backs, just one time, the evil will jump
right back in.
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