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Storage Practices for Law Enforcement

Storage Practices for Law Enforcement

Who’s Accessing Your Evidence Lockers?

Protecting the chain of custody for evidence relies on good evidence storage and efficient processes. Thankfully, efficiency has never been easier with technology that allows evidence lockers to keep track of who accesses the lockers and when.

ControLoc Technology logs individual key codes that show which officer or evidence technician opened which locker, and at what times and dates. This information gets logged into a spreadsheet that can be accessed from the locker of your building’s server. Learn More.

If you’re designing a new evidence storage system or overhauling your current one, our Storage Experts are happy to help! We’re the experts in creating custom public safety storage solutions that will fit your design and budget – contact us to get started today!


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12 Trends in Evidence Storage and Management

12 Trends in Evidence Storage and Management

The field of evidence management is constantly changing with new technologies, techniques, and standards raising the bar for law enforcement. Check out these 12 trends in evidence management today.


Law enforcement professionals know the importance of establishing and maintaining a secure chain of custody. Implementing modern evidence management systems is gaining importance at law enforcement agencies around the world.


The chain of custody must be maintained while evidence remains in limbo between the booking officer and the evidence room. Pass back lockers allow technicians to notify an officer that evidence needs to be labeled and packaged before it can be accepted, or notify that evidence is ready to be picked up prior to a court appearance.


With evidence storage areas becoming crowded, and concerns of storing hazardous materials, some law enforcement agencies get permission to photograph and release evidence associated with misdemeanors and other lesser crimes, particularly if the evidence is large, cumbersome, or hazardous.


Barcoding and RFID are increasingly being used by law enforcement agencies to track evidence in crime labs and evidence rooms.


A growing number of law enforcement agencies are building warehouses or leasing space for long-term evidence storage. Off-site evidence storage is cost effective and a great option for maximizing space and keeping evidence organized.


Some individual law enforcement agencies are electing to pool resources with other nearby agencies to build new evidence storage facilities or share existing ones. Bringing the region’s evidence management professionals together is a great way to share ideas, improve processes, and maintain high standards of professionalism.


In American states where marijuana has been legalized, law enforcement agencies are seeing a reduction in the huge amount of drug material and paraphernalia that must be stored as evidence. However, butane hash reduction has become a problem, resulting in explosions and deadly fires. As a result, more evidence has to be stored in relation to those events.


The National Institute of Justice specifies evidence containing DNA should be dried and stored in a cool place. Compact storage systems, whether in freezers, refrigerators, or air-conditioned rooms/warehouses, will prolong the useful life of evidence storage facilities by increasing storage capacity, improving organization and accessibility, and saving staff time.


There is a tremendous backlog of untested sexual assault kits nationwide. Few agencies know exactly how many kits they have, or where these kits are located. As more agencies are required to find all untested kits and submit them for testing, new procedures must be established to maintain a secure chain of custody. Experts believe that in the future, law enforcement agencies will have a single area designated exclusively for sexual assault kit storage, organized by case number.


Rather than sending evidence to an off-site facility for processing, some departments are upgrading in-house forensics labs and expanding lab services. This switch to onsite labs can offer more timely analysis and provide better investigative value.


Law enforcement agencies are increasing their efforts to separate hazardous materials evidence from benign or inert evidence. This usually involves the installation of secure, vented, fire-rated cabinets inside or outside an evidence storage facility.


Many agencies are installing dash cams and requiring officers to wear body cameras while on duty. Whether an agency stores the video data on-site in evidence rooms or uses a cloud-based service, formal procedures should be established to maintain evidence, as well as to dispose of files that are not needed for evidentiary purposes.



Do you need help with your evidence storage? Contact us for a free space analysis – we’re always happy to help!

ControLoc Technology For Evidence Storage

ControLoc Technology For Evidence Storage

ControLoc Technology works in combination with our evidence lockers, helping your store vital pharmaceuticals, evidence, public “stuff” storage, and many other valuable items. Typically integrated with DSM Lockers, the technology allows you to easily monitor and document all transactions and activity. ControLoc Technology provides increased security and peace of mind by allowing individuals to control who has access to each locker. Access is gained via access cards or badges, and/or a PIN entered on the numeric control pad. The system automatically produces an audit trail of item placement and retrieval – with users, locker numbers, dates, and times!

Standard Features:

  • Unattended access (no keys required)
  • Electro-mechanical locks accessed using PIN or Card
  • Self-closing doors, rubber door stops and flush mounted pull handle
  • High quality powder coat paint finish
  • Multi-point locking system on all doors
  • Stainless steel, full door length hinges
  • Lifetime warranty on frame

ControLoc Technology Software Features:

  • 5000 audit log entries
  • Alarms if a door is forced open, failed to hope, or lock failure
  • Remote lost password reset
  • USB flash over-ride


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6 Tips for Evidence Room Planning & Evidence Storage

6 Tips for Evidence Room Planning & Evidence Storage

Public safety is a highly complex science and the chain of custody is critical to maintain. With the right packaging methods and storage techniques, you can combat the seemingly endless storage challenges that come along with the job.

In conjunction with the International Association of Property and Evidence Storage (IAPE)’s Professional Standards, here are six tips for evidence room planning and storage.

1. Set clear functions and keep them in mind.
Evidence packaging has to serve two equally important functions. it should be used to protect evidence so it doesn’t lose value, and should also allow for uniform storage within your long-term evidence facility.

2. Talk to your crime lab.
Law enforcement agencies should develop packaging methods that will work for you. however, if you work with a provincial or federal crime lab, keep their packaging storage needs in mind as well. If it’s difficult to store your evidence in their systems, it may take longer to get the evidence tested and returned to you.

3. Provide direction.
It’s important to create a packaging manual; especially if you experience high turnover with evidence room employees of have a large evidence room staff. The International Association of Property and Evidence Storage (IAPE) has a list of evidence types that are pretty standard for most evidence rooms. This list will help ensure you have distinct packaging standards around this type of evidence.

4. It’s okay to say “no”.
In the evidence room planning stage, set a standard from the very beginning. If something is packaged that doesn’t follow the evidence packaging or storage procedures outlined in your manual, it should be refused and the booking office should be notified.

5. Know your department’s needs.
Take a look at the types and quantities of property and evidence that is regularly booked into your property room. this will make it much easier to map out the size and location of areas for different types of evidence. it’s also a good idea to ask your packaging on your most regularly booked items as well.

6. Design for your shelving.
If your shelving is fixed, it’s easier to design your storage containers around your shelves. If the shelving is adjustable, consider using standard sizes to minimize costs. for example, it’s much easier to use a standard banker’s box, than to use boxes of various shapes and sizes.

We’ve come up with 6 bonus tips to keep in mind
when taking a look at your evidence packaging and storage.

1. Visit other sites; see what works and what doesn’t.

2. Put evidence lockers in the most convenient area: the Report Writing Room.

3. At every possible opportunity, build pass-through lockers into the common wall between the Report Writing Room and the Property Room to save time and energy.

4. Avoid standard lockers with simple “gravity” locks at all cost as these can be easily picked open and will compromise your chain of custody.

5. Use lockers that are constructed to be openable solely from the Property Room with a flappable catch, so you won’t need to worry about keys.

6. Vary the size opening of the locker compartments for inevitable varying types of evidence AND include refrigerated and/or drying cabinets.

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