LA CROSSE, Wis. (LA CROSSE POLICE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) --On August 13, 2013 the La Crosse Police Department, with assistance from the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation, conducted an investigation in to the suspected illegal activity of former Lieutenant Brian Thomson. The La Crosse Police Department placed fictitious controlled substances under observation and it was revealed that Lt. Thomson removed these items. Subsequently, Brian Thomson was arrested on the charges of attempted possession of a controlled substance and misconduct in office.
The La Crosse Police Department has since conducted a thorough audit of our evidence area and has identified a number of evidentiary items that we believe have been manipulated after the original packaging of the evidence. Due to this discovery, we have updated prosecutors regarding evidentiary drug items that we feel have been tampered with. We have also consulted with the Wisconsin Crime Laboratory to determine the necessity for additional testing of these evidentiary items. Through the use of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation as the agency to conduct the criminal investigation, the La Crosse Police Department has ensured the highest level of transparency throughout this entire process.
Chief Tischer stated, “the actions of Brian Thomson are not in any way an accurate reflection of the hardworking, dedicated, and ethical police officers in the La Crosse Police Department. Brian Thomson shattered the trust of our agency and the community, and in doing so, must now face the consequences of his actions.”
The La Crosse Police Department will continue to work closely with the La Crosse County District Attorney’s Office to ensure that any case involving possible tampered evidence is handled in the most appropriate manner and that those responsible for illegal drug activity in our community are held equally accountable.
The La Crosse Police Department is reviewing its evidence handling processes and its security procedures to ensure that all measures are taken to prevent this type of activity from occurring in the future. Interim corrective actions have already been taken.
Ronald J. Tischer
Chief of Police
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- An area police department is reviewing how it handles evidence in light of the arrest of one of its officers.
In August, officers arrested former La Crosse police Lieutenant Brian Thomson on suspicion of attempted possession of a controlled substance and misconduct in office. Criminal charges have not been filed.
On Thursday, the La Crosse Police Department announced that it has done a thorough audit of its evidence area. It found multiple items of evidence that investigators believe were "manipulated" after they were originally packaged. Because of that, the department told prosecutors about drug evidence that it believes had been tampered with. It also discussed the need for additional testing of those items with the Wisconsin Crime Lab. It says it will keep working with the La Crosse County District Attorney's Office to make sure cases that involve evidence that may have been tampered with are handled appropriately. It also wants to make sure anyone responsible for drug crimes is held accountable.
The department says "interim corrective actions" have been taken, and that it's working with the state to ensure transparency through the process.