Money and drugs went missing from the evidence safe at the police station in Barrow last year—and now the North Slope Borough is launching an investigation into what happened.
A North Slope Borough Police Department memo written by an evidence custodian in February 2013 details missing cash and cocaine from the department’s evidence safe. Barrow police officer Gary Moore gave the memo to the Arctic Sounder online newspaper in March. The memo was obtained by KNOM this week.
The memo states that twice in February 2013 the custodian found evidence tags attached to empty bags—or attached to nothing at all. A bag meant to be filled with confiscated cocaine was cut open and emptied; several envelopes filled with cash had also been opened and emptied; one envelope tagged as containing more than $4,000 in cash had disappeared.
In all, $5,395 and an unknown amount of cocaine is missing, affecting as many as seven different cases within the North Slope Borough Police Department.
Mayor Charlotte Brower and other borough employees refused to comment on the matter Thursday. Borough attorney Lauren Berdow said in an emailed statement the North Slope Borough has hired an independent consultant to “aggressively conduct an investigation” into “all allegations that question the proper and ethical practices of the Borough Police Department.”
Several members of the borough assembly said they have yet to hear anything about the investigation from the mayor’s office.
The borough’s inquiry comes amid a visit from the FBI earlier this month. Bureau spokesperson Kevin Donovan wouldn’t say if the visit was related to the missing evidence.
“I can confirm that we had one agent from the FBI meeting with members of the North Slope Borough Police Department,” Donovan said. “During the week of May 5, we had one agent there” for “three or four” days, he added. “The nature of the visit is not something we are disclosing.”
An employee at the police department who didn’t want to be identified spoke with the FBI agent at the time of the agent’s visit. That employee said the agent stated her or she plans to return in the near future to administer polygraph tests.
The FBI visit, and the borough’s investigation, come on the heels of the announcement that North Slope Police Chief Leon Boyea is stepping down on July 1. In an email sent April 17 announcing his retirement, Boyea wrote that he was stepping down due to family needs.
Chief Boyea and North Slope Police Captain Darryl Holeman did not return messages Thursday.