Thursday, Dec 5, 2013
Drug Evidence Falls from Shawneetown Police Dept. Ceiling
SHAWNEETOWN -- Officers at a Gallatin County police department discover a secret stash made decades ago.
It was a surprising find for officials, as drug evidence dating back 30 years suddenly fell from the ceiling Thursday inside Shawneetown City Hall.
Officials insist, there was no misconduct. It was simply a lapse of memory by the former Shawneetown police chief.
Current Chief Bob Boon says he was sitting at his desk, when construction workers who were working to remodel inside yelled that something had fallen from the ceiling. "I was astonished," he said.
Boon says several plastic and paper evidence bags containing decaying marijuana, pills, and other drug paraphernalia spilled onto the floor.
"It was evidence tags and materials that were dated back from 1982-1985," he said.
Boon says he knew the statute of limitations would have expired years ago, so he immediately took the evidence outside to be destroyed. "Set it on fire and that's where it was burned," he explained.
It didn't take long for word to spread and for history to unravel. "This was my office, my desk was right here," said Robert Patton, who was police chief from 1981-2011.
Patton says the department had a series of drug busts in the early 1980s, when someone broke into city hall twice and stole evidence.
"Actually you can still see some old pry marks and stuff, see those?" said Patton as he showed us the door the thieve broke.
In the second break-in, Patton says the evidence lockers that used to be along the back wall were destroyed.
"The cases were still pending at that particular time so I put it in the ceiling in my office where I thought it would be safe, and evidently it was for 30 years," he explained.
With the history of law enforcement in Gallatin County, particularly surrounding former Sheriff Raymond Martin, Boon and Patton understand the public's concerns.
Patton says it's an unfortunate mistake that they'll laugh about later. "Little bit embarrassing you know, it's my fault that I'd forgotten it," he added.
Boon says he was an officer during the time the evidence was seized, so some of the bags had his name on them.
If you have an questions or concerns regarding the matter, you can call Chief Boon at the Shawneetown Police Department at (618) 269-3624.
Wind: 12 MPH
Humidity: 75 %