Pubdate: Tue, 28 Nov 2017
Source: Windsor Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2017 The Windsor Star
Author: Dave Battagello
Page: A3


An audit released Monday by the Windsor Police Services Board shows
the recent handling of evidence in cases involving street drugs has
been in compliance and largely free of errors.

But the audit performed over two months this summer by Ontario's
Ministry of Community, Safety and Correctional Services made 11
recommendations for improvements, and all but one have already been
implemented, said Chief Al Frederick.

The audit was triggered at the request of Frederick and the police
board following questions that were raised over the 2013 disappearance
of $25,000 in cocaine from a drug vault under officers' control.

Windsor police lost track of nine ounces of cocaine after it was
seized during a druginvestigation.

The revelation was made during the course of a criminal trial in
Superior Court.

Miles Patrick Meraw, 31, was convicted in July and received a 30-month
sentence for possession of cocaine despite police losing the evidence.
His lawyer has appealed the decision.

Meraw had no record before being arrested on July 18, 2013, during a
wiretap investigation targeting another Windsor drug dealer. But when
it came time for trial, officers couldn't find the drugs.

Frederick has attributed "human error" to the disappearance and has
speculated the cocaine was mistakenly taken out of the drug vault for
destruction. He said the officer collecting items for destruction
likely grabbed the wrong exhibit.

Despite losing $25,000 worth of cocaine, it took the Windsor Police
Service a year and a half to install a new camera system in its drug
vault, according to documents obtained earlier this year by the
Windsor Star.

Other recommendations made by the ministry included the installation
of an improved video system, improved registry system, improved
disposal records, staff training, access control policies that are
strictly enforced and a regular maintenance schedule performed on the
camera system to ensure it properly operates.

The only recommendation not yet implemented involves an electronic
barcode system on evidence. At a cost of roughly $200,000, the system
has not yet been approved, Frederick said.
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