March 2013
Welcome IAPE Newsletter Reader

 

Greetings!

The International Association for Property and Evidence, Inc. wants to remind all of our members that annual dues must be paid by the end of March to ensure continued receipt of the Evidence Log..



ASK JOE
To Freeze Or Not To Freeze


Q


Dear Joe,

We keep getting more and more biological evidence submitted to the evidence room and I'm running out of freezer space. My boss wants to know if you had any recommendations for the best freezers to purchase for the storage of bio evidence

 

Thanks, Outa Freezer Space

 

Dear Outa Freezers Space

Maybe not! Things are changing and freezers may be a thing of the past. As we have crossed the country with all of our training classes, we have found that everyone has a different opinion about the necessity to freeze / refrigerate evidence.

 

 

Two and a half years ago, IAPE was invited to participate with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop property room storage standards for biological evidence, since there has been to consensus in this issue. The group was made up of prosecutors, defense attorneys, a retired Criminal Court Judge,Innocence Project advocates, Crime Lab Directors, scientists, Evidence Technicians, an Evidence Storage supervisor from the FBI, a law school professor, software developers and yes even property room personnel! The group was given the task to author a guide for the handling and storage of DNA (biological evidence). After two years of work the project has been developed and our work, will be published as "The Biological Evidence Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers".
 
In the very near future, IAPE will be sending all of our readers the final and published handbook in a PDF document. The good news is that we may not need to be freezing or refrigerating as much of our collected evidence as many of us have done in the past. In this newsletter a few excerpts from the handbook that may help you in determining your department's needs for additional freezers / refrigerators.

After you review the below information it is extremely important that you consult with you servicing Crime Laboratory to ensure that they concur. The decision as to temperature and climate controlled storage of biological evidence must be based upon the guidance of the Crime Laboratory that you use. Additionally, once you receive the PDF version of the new handbook you may want to share the information with your Crime Laboratory Director as this information will be new to everyone. The final report is completely annotated with all of the appropriate sources.

 

The following are excerpts from the "The Biological Evidence Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers," and is used with the permission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

 

Biological Evidence Environmental Condition

The proper drying and packaging of biological evidence is the first step toward achieving optimal preservation. The next step is storing it in the proper environmental conditions. Biological evidence must be stored in a fashion that not only safeguards its integrity but also ensures its protection from degradation. The storage of biological evidence may include, but is not limited to, the use of temperature- and humidity-controlled areas or freezers and refrigerators.

 

Biological evidence should be stored in one of the following environments depending on the type of evidence, and if known, the type of analysis that will be conducted:

  • Frozen: Laboratory freezer storage temperatures at or below -10�C (14�F)
  • Refrigerated: Stored between 2�C (35�F) and 8�C (46�F) with less than 25% humidity
  • Temperature Controlled: Stored between 15.5�C (60�F) and 24�C (75�F) with less than 60% humidity
  • Room Temperature: No temperature or humidity control guidelines

The first table, Temporary Storage Conditions Matrix, provides guidance in the temporary storage of biological evidence, while the second table, Long Term Storage Conditions Matrix, is related to the long-term storage of bio evidence.     

  

 Temporary Storage Conditions Matrix

Short Term  Temporary Storage Conditions Matrix

Long Term

 Glossary   (NOTE FROM JOE: THE BELOW DEFINITIONS ARE FROM THE HANDBOOK GLOSSARY).

 

This glossary is provided as a guide in the interpretation and understanding of the document. When possible, definitions were selected from existing references. Certain definitions were specifically crafted to elucidate the intent of the document.

 

Biological Evidence: Biological material recovered from crime scenes commonly appear in the form of hair, tissue, bones, teeth, blood, semen, or other bodily fluids. Biological evidence refers to samples of biological materials or evidence items containing biological material.


Biohazards: Materials that contain blood or other potentially infectious materials. These materials include many of those found in biological evidence including: semen, vaginal secretions or any body fluid that is visibly contaminated with blood, and all body fluids in situations where it is difficult or impossible to differentiate between body fluids as well as any unfixed tissue or organ from a human (living or dead) that can be collected at a crime scene and stored. (Occupational Safety & Health Administration, 2011)

 

However, requiring the retention of all physical evidence that can potentially contain DNA would result in the retention of all evidence collected unless it was screened to determine the possible presence of genetic material. Therefore, our recommendations attempt to balance the interests of justice with practicable storage concerns and offer a minimum threshold for biological evidence retention. The table below describes different types of evidence that can contain biological evidence which in turn, could be tested for DNA

.

Examples of Sources of Biological Evidence

(National Institute of Justice, 2003)

 

Evidence

Likely Location of DNA on the Evidence

Source of DNA

Baseball bat or similar weapon

Handle, end

Sweat, skin, blood, tissue

Hat, bandanna, or mask

Inside

Sweat, hair, dandruff

Eyeglasses

Nose or ear pieces, lens

Sweat, skin

Facial tissue, cotton swab

Surface area

Mucus, blood, sweat, semen, ear wax

Dirty laundry

Surface area

Blood, sweat, semen

Toothpick

Tips

Saliva

Used cigarette

Cigarette butt

Saliva

Stamp or envelope

Licked area

Saliva

Tape or ligature

Inside/outside surface

Saliva

Bottle, can, or glass

Sides, mouthpiece

Saliva, sweat

Used condom

Inside/outside surface

Semen, vaginal or rectal cells

Blanket, pillow, sheet

Surface area

Sweat, hair, semen, urine, saliva

"Through and through" bullet

Outside surface

Blood, tissue

Bite mark

Person's skin or clothing

Saliva

Fingernail, partial fingernail

Scrapings

Blood, sweat, tissue

 Regards,        

 

Joe Latta  Executive Director

IAPE continues its relationships with valuable and unique resources for our profession. Each month we will introduce  you to companies who offer products and services to improve evidence handling, processes and best practices.

 

PR*VIDE Evidence from Provista 

PROVISTA
Bringing the requirement for Evidence Collection and Evidence Management together into one comprehensive solution. PR*VIDE Evidence is built on leading edge IBM technology incorporating J2EE and .NET within an SOA environment. Now you have a pro-active partner that helps you address those tasks that are of highest priority through the PR*VIDE Evidence Smart Center. With PR*VIDE Evidence you have much more than a system - you have a solution. And it comes with all of the "must-have" capabilities. One solution, with everything as standard and without the need for add-on modules. Finally, software that doesn't get in the way

 

Visit Provista web site to learn more

For further information and a free test drive, contact  steve.taylor@provista.com at 510-794-1885 or collect a Solution Brief from www.provista.com/public_safety

 

 

 
 
 
 

Provista
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