Abilene Police Department still looking for new evidence facility
ABILENE, Texas - The Abilene Police Department is running out of space to put evidence and it's an ongoing problem.
Voters approved $1.6 million for a new evidence facility in the 2015 bond election. APD had a building on Treadaway in its sights, but the department decided it wasn't worth the money after a site assessment.
"Right now we're in the process of doing another evaluation on a piece of property for the potential of the property and evidence building," said Abilene Police Department Assistant Chief Doug Wrenn.
It is still too early for APD to reveal the location of that building, but Wrenn said the department will start the design process if the evaluation comes back positive.
The current evidence building is located in the basement of the Law Enforcement Center. According to Donna Littlefield, the department's evidence and property manager, it's nearly full.
"We probably have about five percent of space left," Littlefield said.
The "murder wall," for example, has boxes of evidence in murder cases stacked to the ceiling. The oldest one dates back to 1967.
"Our murder cases and sexual assault cases, we're required to keep them forever until the defendant is deceased," Littlefield said.
Littlefield said officers bring in more evidence faster than the courts can prosecute. The only solution is more space.
"We absolutely recognize the value of having a larger facility," Wrenn said. "We are also very optimistic that that is going to happen within the next year."
APD hopes to have a new evidence facility by next year.