PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The police chief of the Tillamook Police Department is on leave, according to the Tillamook City Manager, at the same time as an ongoing investigation of potentially tampered evidence.
Chief Raymond Rau’s leave of absence comes while there is an investigation conducted by the Oregon State Police into the department’s handling of evidence, and the Tillamook County District Attorney is determining which cases are affected.
In May, OSP conducted an audit of the Tillamook Police Department evidence storage and found missing or apparently tampered evidence in 83 cases going back to 2006.
District Attorney Aubrey Olson told KOIN 6 she is in the process of analyzing each case and determining the appropriate course of action. She has already dismissed two cases and even vacated four convictions of people in jail or prison.
“The only information I’ve gotten so far is a list of case numbers with items that were reported as missing and/or tampered,” Olson said.
The missing evidence relates to illegal drugs in 64 cases. Olson said has yet to find who is responsible, but she is “a little terrified to find out.”
“It does shake the foundation and it calls into question exactly what happened. It’s too bad that we don’t have the rest of the investigation yet to be able to point a finger to know who’s responsible,” Olson said. “Is this a result of just poor evidence management? Is this a result of somebody’s criminal activity?”
It is not clear if Rau’s absence relates to the investigation. KOIN 6 has reached out to Chief Rau, but we have yet to hear back.
“He has done an amazing job for our police department. He came into a situation here where he faced a difficult situation,” said City Manager Nathan George. “He and I worked together to create structure…to create a police department that was 100 times better than it was.”
Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.