The Evidence Review Unit (ERU) was formed in November 2015 in response to the implementation of the Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) Body-Worn Camera (BWC) program. Initially, the unit was responsible for obtaining, reviewing, marking, and redacting police BWC videos needed for trial. Beginning in the spring of 2016, the unit’s work expanded to include obtaining and reviewing Controlled Dangerous Substances (CDS) analyses, Firearms Reports, DNA analyses, Forensic Screening Reports, Foxtrot videos, Mobile Crime reports, Mobile Crime photographs, 911 and KGA audio recordings, commercial CCTV videos, and beginning in Fall 2019, Latent reports.
In taking on these additional responsibilities, the ERU devised a method of sharing reports electronically with the various analytic units in BPD, thereby reducing the time and cost to request and receive the reports which are needed for trial. Additionally, the ERU has devised various methods of electronic tracking of analysis requested and received, thereby allowing for trend analysis in the area of evidence collection.
The unit also is a stepping off point for new ASAs in the State’s Attorney’s Office. During their time in ERU, the ASAs learn how to efficiently review and redact BWC videos, including learning to spot potential constitutional violations by arresting officers. The ASAs also learn the mechanics of requesting various types of evidence from ERU paralegals.
While in ERU, the unit’s law clerks and ASAs are trained on the policies and procedures of various BPD units such as the K-9 unit, the BPD BWC unit, and the Drug Analysis Unit.
The ERU is led by Chief Sandra Goldthorpe, who joined the State's Attorney’s Office in 2015 to develop the newly formed unit. Before joining the office, Chief Goldthorpe had her own law firm in Baltimore City where she practiced criminal defense and family law. Chief Goldthorpe received her law degree from the University of Baltimore, a Master’s in Community Planning from the University of Maryland College Park, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Arizona.