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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.
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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.
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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.