DC police chief: Sensitive documents found unsecured at abandone - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DC police chief: Sensitive documents found unsecured at abandoned DC police facility were 'staged'

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The Internal Affairs Division of the D.C. Police Department has launched an investigation into why sensitive records and documents were left unsecured inside the abandoned headquarters of the Special Operations Division.

FOX 5 found open windows, an unlocked door and the sensitive papers after receiving a tip homeless people may have been living there.

The documents we found included a complete list of employees at every embassy in the city, police personnel records with social security numbers and an operational manual for the bomb squad.

Chief Cathy Lanier said last Thursday she thought what we found inside the old SOD headquarters was "staged" and she's sticking with that claim.

On Thursday, April 18, at the old headquarters of the Special Operations Division at 23rd and L Streets in Northwest D.C., a FOX 5 crew found an unsecured building and easy access to sensitive documents.

The garage door was unlocked, two windows on the first floor were wide open and a state department booklet lying on the ground outside.

We left the book where we found it and took the stairs down to the basement to try the last door into the building. It was open and we went inside.

On the first floor in the room with the open window facing L Street, we found an IMF World Bank action plan written by Chief Lanier, police personnel records and a manual for the bomb squad.

But after four days of investigating, the chief thinks it was all staged and issued this statement.

"While we are looking into the matter of the building not being secured, we strongly believe the documents found inside the building was staged and then released to the press.”

It is a claim Fraternal Order of Police Chairman Kris Baumann finds astonishing.

"We've seen this before,” said Baumann. “We have seen just these types of problems before and yet the department continues to want to say that, ‘It’s not their fault. Someone’s picking on them. It’s staged. Who would stage this?’”

Baumann says the fact the building was left unsecured is a reflection on the department.

"You have to ask yourself, ‘We are a police department. What sort of impression does that give? What sort of sense of security do you have with us handling criminal evidence, sensitive information?’ It’s just inexplicable.” said Baumann.

On Monday, four days after our story first aired, we found the windows boarded up, the front gate chained shut and city employees working to make sure no one could get inside.

Although there was no direct evidence homeless people had been living in the building, there was evidence of sexual activity inside. We found condom wrappers and pantyhose.

Since Chief Lanier would not make herself available for questions, it’s unclear who she thinks would have staged something like this.

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