Daily Archives: November 12, 2015

Mayberry follies

Nice long story in yesterday’s Burlington Free Press on the Colchester Police Department, one year after the shocking arrest of veteran officer Tyler Kinney, who was allegedly stealing drugs, guns and money from the evidence room he was responsible for. Reporter Elizabeth Murray chronicled the struggles of Chief Jennifer Morrison in bringing the department’s policies and procedures up to date.

Nice, so far as it went. But there was one person completely absent from the story who should have played a substantial role.

Chuck Kirker.

For those just joining us, Kirker had served in the Colchester Police Department for 43 years, and had been Chief for 34 years when he retired in 2013. And, to judge by the Kinney case and yesterday’s Free Press piece, he was doing a terrible job.

The Colchester Police Department (not exactly as illustrated)

Chief Kirker and company (not exactly as illustrated)

During his tenure on the force, the CPD grew from four staffers to 28. But apparently he was still running the place like Andy of Mayberry. Many departmental policies, Murray reports, “hadn’t been updated in 20 years or more.” Morrison has led the department through “multiple rounds of training and leadership development.” Evidence storage has been completely overhauled, with security cameras, a bar-coding system, tamper-proof evidence bags, and a double-locking system that doesn’t allow anyone to have solo access to the room. And:

Personnel evaluations also have become more regular, and employees have been allowed to give feedback on the evaluation process to refine the system. Before Kinney’s arrest, no one had received an evaluation in 20 years.

Yikes: no personnel evaluations for 20 years? That helps explain how Tyler Kinney could have kept control of the CPD’s evidence storage for several years before his gross malfeasance was brought to light.

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