Chief: Vermont Police Officer Took Guns, Drugs From Evidence Locker

Tyler Kinney, a police officer in Colchester, Vermont, was arrested by federal authorities Tuesday and expected to be arraigned on federal charges Wednesday.

Corporal Tyler Kinney, a 12-year veteran of the Colchester, Vermont, Police Department, is on unpaid leave from the force, following his arrest on suspicion of stealing drug and gun evidence from the department's evidence room. Colchester Police Chief Jennifer Morrison made the announcement Tuesday.

"Today is the darkest day in the history of the Colchester Police Department," Morrison told reporters, reading a prepared statement in a somber tone. "In my 24 years in law enforcement, I have never been so disappointed."

Morrison said Kinney, 38, of Jericho, Vermont, was in charge of evidence handling. She said she expects Kinney to face federal charges of drug sales and gun trafficking on Wednesday. Morrison explained the alleged crimes came to light when the Burlington Police Department seized a gun as part of one of its investigations that was supposed to be locked up in Colchester.

The investigation is still ongoing, Morrison noted, adding that the department is fully cooperating with federal authorities, including the FBI. Morrison said the amount of drugs diverted from the evidence locker is still undetermined.

T.J. Donovan, the elected head prosecutor in Chittenden County, promised to closely re-examine Colchester cases his office has handled. Donovan said he wants to be fully transparent in that, to protect the integrity of the justice system, and the public's faith in it.

"We're going to have to do a review--a thorough review--of not only his cases, but since my understand is he was in charge of the evidence room, any evidence he was in custody of," Donovan told New England Cable News Tuesday. "And, unfortunately, my sense is we're going to have to dismiss some cases."

Morrison said her department is doing a full audit of evidence handling procedures. She also said an outside entity will conduct an investigation of Colchester’s police operations. Morrison did not take questions from reporters, but promised more information after Kinney's federal arraignment.

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