A former Isle of Palms police officer was arrested Tuesday on accusations that she pawned thousands of dollars worth of evidence and equipment.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) charged former Capt. Dawn Caldwell with misconduct in office and breach of trust. Caldwell was custodian at the evidence room for the Isle Of Palms Police Department. A warrant states that Capt. Caldwell took items from the evidence room worth more than $2,000 and pawned them at a local shop. The warrant states Caldwell pawned the items between 2009 and 2013.
Isle of Palms Police Chief Thomas Buckhannon told reporters he requested the SLED investigation after an audit found discrepancies. He said Caldwell had left in early June to take a new job with the North Charleston Police Department.
“Any time that someone steps out of line, we take aggressive action for it. In this case, we took aggressive action by notifying SLED, laying it out to them, telling them what we had,” Buckhannon said in a Tuesday press conference. “Them conducting that investigation should also reassure the citizens out here that we take this very seriously.”
In an email, city officials said the evidence room is secure with extremely limited access, including an alarm system and coded door for entry. A primary evidence custodian like Caldwell would receive evidence, maintain it in the property room, and release the evidence under appropriate conditions.
Caldwell was also charged with pawning her department-issued Glock pistol on two occasions.
According to WCBD in Charleston, Caldwell was voted Officer of the Year by the IOP Exchange Club in 2009 for her work in solving several burglaries. She had been with the department since 1999.