(KMOV.com) - The East St. Louis Police Department is attempting to raise funds for a renovation of an evidence locker that remains filthy after break-ins and sewage leaks.
According to prosecutors, the condition of some evidence in the locker has had a direct impact on cases. The leading option, if it can be funded, is to renovate the old East St. Louis Police Department into a new multi-department evidence storage locker.
State Senator Jay Hoffman says he believes the $3 million-$4 million overhaul could be funded with help from federal grants to turn the storage locker into a safe and secure storage facility for evidence from cases in Brooklyn, Alorton, Washington Park, and East St. Louis.
"You shouldn't have to worry that evidence is preserved," says Hoffman. "Unfortunately, in many of these communities in the past, because of funding problems that hasn't been the case."
During state inspections earlier this year, animal droppings and carcasses, bags of evidence from murders tossed in piles, and nothing but a wooden box to stop sewage leaks were all discovered at the locker.
After the inspection, St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said there was a risk that evidence, dating before 2008, could be so degraded that it may not be in a condition to be used in court.
"These areas that appear to be broken into where evidence is stolen, where guns are missing, evidence of very serious crimes are missing," says Kelly.
State Representative Dwight Kay says he also supports the facility, but wants a more specific cost estimate and details on who would manage it before moving forward.
It's unlikely action will get approved in the current veto session, but supporters of the plan hope to bring it up again when Bruce Rauner takes office.