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4 Southern California deputies fired over evidence handling

November 19, 2019

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Four Orange County, California sheriff’s deputies have been fired after an audit found systemic abuses in the handling of evidence.

The Southern California News Group reported Monday that sheriff’s department auditors discovered nearly one-third of evidence collected from February 2016 to February 2018 was booked beyond the agency’s one-day policy.

Some bookings were tardy by more than a month, creating questions about chain of custody.

Fifteen deputies were criminally investigated in connection with the probe, but the district attorney’s office declined to file charges. Besides the four terminations, seven deputies were disciplined and four cases are pending.

The audit showed a lack of consistent and accurate entries and no system of accountability.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said the department has since improved the booking of evidence.