Trenton GA Jan 26 2014 Trenton detective Shawn Chapa made many cases over the years but now has a big case against him.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation accuses Chapa of stealing hydrocodone from the evidence room.
People inside and outside of the Trenton Police Department say Chapa was a good officer. But now he faces serious charges and the loss of a career.
Chapa was entering his 10th year with the Trenton police department. But a red flag went up Tuesday. Someone informed the chief Chapa was using hydrocodone and it came from the department’s evidence room.
Chief Roger Castleberry said, “It started out innocent, with a doctor’s prescription. It wound up being more than he could control.”
Chief Castleberry started a preliminary investigation and Chapa resigned. Castleberry said, “Of course he was very honest and upfront with me.”
Only the chief and Chapa had keys to the evidence room. The chief called in the GBI and added Chapa had been stealing a small amount of hydrocodone for less than a year.
The chief said most of the cases were closed ones. News Channel 9 spoke with criminal defense attorney Bill Speek who said the integrity of evidence can be questioned. Speek said, “If you have an officer that is manipulating and in some way disturbing the actual evidence that he is in possession of, then a good lawyer’s going to use that to his advantage and should use it to his advantage.”
Trenton mayor Anthony Emanuel said Chapa was actually taking evidence bags home with him. “But we’re all human and he tripped and stumbled. But this was a very serious violation. Unfortunately, he’s given up his career in law enforcement,” Emanuel said.
The chief said the resignation and charges have rippled through his small department. “It hurts. It’s something none of us ever expected. I hope we haven’t hurt the trust of the citizens of Trenton.”
The District Attorney’s Office is expected to review pending cases of Chapa’s to determine if they are still valid for prosecution.
The GBI charged him with violation of oath by a public officer and theft.