Law enforcement works to lock up criminals, but to do so they often also need to lock up evidence. Lost or tampered with evidence can end careers. Failure to secure chain of custody can also be catastrophic for criminal justice processes and law enforcement agency credibility. Temporary evidence lockers are one important solution.
While agencies are now acutely aware of the need to reliably protect the chain of custody for evidence, hurdles remain. Evidence management practices may be evolving but those in public safety continue to be challenged by:
- Space constraints — evidence storage areas are becoming increasingly crowded.
- Resource limitations — there are only so many evidence technicians available to process materials.
- Multi-departmental collaboration — evidence isn’t handled by only one person. One piece of evidence may be labeled and packaged by a police officer and processed by a technician, then needed again for a court appearance.
- Evidence attributes — evidence takes many forms, which can include large, cumbersome, and hazardous.
- Storage demands — each jurisdiction has its own rules for the release or disposal of evidence.
- Technology revolution — evidence management is being transformed by electronic systems, which bring many benefits but can also mean a steep learning curve
Selecting an Evidence Locker Solution
Efficient evidence locker solutions used in police stations and public courthouses demand various sizes of compartments to accommodate the range of evidence materials and include mail or video slots and refrigerated compartments (for storage of temperature sensitive, non-hazardous evidence).
These sturdy lockers can be designed with Pass-thru (PT) or Non Pass-thru (NPT) options to further ensure the protection and integrity of the evidence handling process. The PT locker is built into the wall of the property and evidence room to separate the evidence drop-off area and allow evidence to securely pass from a non-secured to a secured area.
With NPT lockers, any individual can deposit evidence but only authorized personnel can remove the evidence. In many cases, the NPT lockers can easily be converted to pass-thru configurations down the road as department needs change.
Evidence lockers can also ensure the protection of items with deadbolt locking, welded doors, and anti-pry tabs. Yet the forward-facing doors can be keyless, with a push-button lock system, to enable simple and efficient unattended depositing of evidence in the lockers. Public safety officers can maintain accountability while depositing evidence at any time in law enforcement facilities.
Ease of Use & Evidence Lockers
To use law enforcement evidence lockers the officer would simply:
- Select a vacant compartment (the doors remain unlocked but is held shut by self-closing hinges until evidence is deposited)
- Open a door to deposit evidence
- Close the door and depress the push-button lock to secure the door.
Authorized property and evidence personnel would then:
- Unlock and open the door (a rear door in the case of PT lockers)
- Remove evidence to process and prepare material for storage
- Release the door mechanism to revert the compartment to unlocked.
Taking a case from collar to conviction requires preserved evidence with its integrity protected. Temporary lockers for evidence storage are built to store even the most unique objects law enforcement officers encounter.
Custom design your secure storage solution to meet your department’s evidence handling needs with Patterson Pope’s help. Our experts can match a High-Density Mobile Storagesystem to your specific storage needs — from high-profile evidence to general property — for well-organized, space-efficient storage that offer evidence practice peace of mind at less cost. Contact us today.