The district attorney has announced charges against a former Johnstown police officer, 34-year-old William Slisz of Portage, PA.

Slisz is facing two counts of burglary charges, three counts of criminal trespass charges, one count of criminal attempt at burglary, one count of possession, and two counts of tampering with evidence.

On September 18, 2016, Slisz obtained an evidence envelope that contained stamp bags of suspected heroin from a temporary locker in the Johnstown Public Safety Building. It was found later that he tampered with said evidence. Slisz entered the Administrative Sergeant’s office through a ceiling tile to obtain a hammer from the sergeant’s desk. He exited the same way he entered. He then made multiple attempts to enter a secured evidence room from different locations on the third floor of the building.

Slisz was found lying in a fetal position under a table in the Public Safety building’s roll call room at 3:15 p.m. the hammer he took from the sergeant’s office was found lying next to him, and there was a hole was found in the wall between the roll call room and evidence room. Police believe Slisz was responsible for the hole.

EMS administered Naloxone to Slisz and then transferred him to the Conemaugh Memorial hospital.

In a report detailing the investigation, the Cambria County District Attorney’s office said they discovered Slisz first began using heroin and removing evidence in the fall of 2015.

District Attorney Kelly Callihan said they had to look through evidence dating back to 2010. Investigators said it’s possible Slisz stole evidence while serving on the Cambria County and the state attorney general’s drug task force.
“If he was removing evidence from the street before it was logged into evidence, we would have no tracking of that,” said Callihan.
Callihan said her office does not believe other law enforcement officers were involved in criminal wrongdoing. However, she did say Johnstown Police Department employees suspected evidence was missing months before the September incident and they should have reported it.
“They did take steps to put in a video surveillance system, but that system wasn’t monitored. Had they monitored it, they would have discovered the actions of this officer as early as September 7th,” Callihan said.
Investigators said on September 7, Slisz was caught on surveillance camera removing an an envelope from the evidence room where drugs were stored.
Because Slisz tampered with evidence from the Johnstown Police Department, 15 different cases have been withdrawn or dismissed on record, 7 cases entered guilty pleas to lesser charges, and 6 remain open and Commonwealth will move to dismiss them.
“We tried to salvage what we could but in the end if we believed there was tampering with evidence in the cases, we disclose that and we have to walk away,” said Callihan.