San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Accused of Mismanaging Thousands of Pieces of Evidence

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY -- The San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office is under fire, accused of mismanaging evidence.

The vendor who provided the department the software to keep track of its evidence now says 10,000 pieces of evidence and items might be missing.

The vendor, Brian Germann, says he first noticed the issue in 2009, and years later, he claims the evidence room is still a mess.

"It disappoints me that my sheriff is so lackadaisical about the process or handling of evidence,” said Germann, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises Inc.

Germann said an evidence custodian seven years ago couldn’t match up labels to corresponding evidence. He claims the labels ended up in the trash.

“I’ve never seen a sheriff’s department or a police department mismanage evidence as bad as the sheriff’s department does,” Germann said.

FOX40 sat down with Sheriff Steve Moore who says he first learned about the problems last week.

“If there’s something that needs to be looked at or fixed we’re more than willing to do that. Had I been told that in ’08 or ’09 we would have been already through this because, you know, we would have already done the search,” Moore said.

Moore added if there was evidence missing, investigations would have been jeopardized, and he says no case has been affected.

“If we didn’t have evidence to produce in court, the former district attorney, along with the current district attorney, would have to dismiss cases,” Moore said.

Moore wants to know why Germann is bringing up the issues now. So did FOX40.

Germann said he’s protecting the integrity of his company and his family. His son worked inside the evidence room in April when he said some pellet guns and knives were not properly handled. His son was transferred to another job within the department, FOX40 doesn't know why, and Sheriff Moore would not comment.

As for the allegations of missing evidence, the sheriff said the room is not in disarray. FOX40 asked to go inside, but we were not allowed.

The sheriff said the system and those working in the room are doing their job.

“The property room, I have faith in the process, everything seems to be working,” Moore said.

Germann hopes sharing his concerns leads to better accountability.

"Really a great deal of disservice, I believe, that is being done by the sheriff’s department in the way that they have been, and currently are, handling evidence,” Germann said.

The system Germann provided is still being used. The sheriff said he has no plans of getting rid of it.

FOX40 also reached out to the District Attorney’s Office about these allegations, they said:

"The ultimate goal of our office is to ensure the ultimate integrity and fairness of the entire criminal justice system. When such a complaint is brought to us, we take such a complaint seriously and investigate it appropriately."