Each month, IAPE's primary instructor, Joe Latta, answers one of your questions. Consider writing us if you have a question that needs an answer. We would love to hear from you.
We have completed an inventory and there are a few items we were unable to locate. We use the
Beast software now to barcode all of our items, but most of our missing items were back before Beast existed. What is the best practice for handling items you cannot find? They are all from cases that are from 2008 or older and the cases are closed.
Dear Property Officer Wherzit,
Thanks for inquiry, this is easy! Our
page on the IAPE website may provide you a direction to solve the problem. If you and your department concur with the standard and proceed with using it, make sure you write the process into you property room policy.
2.2.4 Internal Controls - Inventory - Missing Evidence Reporting
Any items identified as missing should be brought to the attention of a supervisor/manager in writing as soon as practical. Depending on the value (both evidentiary and monetary) and circumstances of the missing item, a determination by the supervisor/manager should be made whether or not to initiate an internal investigation. When the item has no significant monetary value and no evidentiary value, management should consider closing the record administratively to prevent the recurrence of the same item being identified as missing in a future inventory. (IAPE Standard 15.1: Audit and Inspection - March 2015)
2.2.5 Internal Controls - Inventory - Missing Evidence - UTL File
Any items identified as missing should be brought to the attention of a supervisor/manager in writing as soon as practical. Depending on the value (both evidentiary and monetary) and circumstances of the missing item, a determination by the supervisor/manager should be made whether or not to initiate an internal investigation. When the item has no significant monetary value and no evidentiary value, management should consider closing the record administratively to prevent the recurrence of the same item being identified as missing in a future inventory.
The Police Department needs to establish protocols within the Property Unit outlining what actions must be taken when an employee discovers an item missing from location. Policy needs to define the responsibilities of each person within the Chain of Command and how these actions are documented, reviewed, and closed out.
IAPE would strongly suggest that there be a concentrated effort to follow up and investigate any and all guns, drugs and money that may be in a UTL Status. (missing)
Additionally, the computer records needs show the item location as UTL, (unable to locate) providing management with the ability to routinely monitor missing items and reconcile items that are later accounted for.
An option for dealing with UTL's once they are determined not to have been pilfered or mishandled is to include in policy a statement which allows for the Manager to administratively close a property record for an item that has no monetary or evidentiary value, (i.e.: a can of spray paint in a five year old case that had no suspect and that is beyond the statute of limitations).
The case paperwork could be closed out administratively and filed in Records with a memo included from the Commander of the Unit noting the action "Closed Administratively". Conversely, when an item of significance is missing, which has monetary value or is evidence in a case, protocols need to be established that provide guidance on the required actions, such as a full inventory will be conducted, an internal investigation will be initiated, criminal investigation, etc.
The Property Officer should always document the problem in writing and immediately notify their Supervisor.
The following may provide guidance for an Administratively Closed policy.
If at any time, property or evidence is determined to be missing or lost, it is imperative it is reported to the first-line Supervisor in writing as quickly as possible. Missing property or evidence can generally be categorized as having:
- Probative Value (Evidentiary Value)
- Monetary Value
- NO Probative or Monetary Value
Any property / evidence that has probative and/or a monetary value should be evaluated by management to determine whether or not an internal investigation, criminal investigation or other informal inquiry needs to take place.
Any Property that has neither probative nor monetary value may be eligible to be written out of the Inventory by policy and administrative approval. For example, a bicycle frame cannot be located. The Commander of the Unit has the written authority to administratively close the record as it has minimal monetary value and beyond the statute of limitations. By doing this, any future Inventory will not pick up this missing bike frame. Another example, a broken baseball bat from a 10 year old vandalism with no suspects or warrants. The item is beyond the statute of limitations and can't be used to prosecute the case
Hopefully this information can help you when dealing with this type of issue in the future.
Events and Trends
IAPE is continuously following news stories that may impact the management and safety of our employee. The first story (Bulletin) is from the Oregon Titan Fusion Center that is provide update information about the type of glove we should use when handling drugs that may contain fentanyl, whether in the field or in the Property Room. The second item we are re-posting FENTANYL - A Briefing Guide for First Responder
This bulletin addresses the All Crimes topic of the National Intelligence Priorities Framework and addresses Oregon TITAN Fusion Center Standing Information Needs contained in OTFC-AC 2.1
The Oregon TITAN Fusion Center received information about an online article out of Ohio regarding the disposal of latex gloves. The open source report stated that an Ohio county coroner's office recommended the immediate disposal of all latex gloves for professionals that may come into contact with synthetic opioids during their normal course of business. Latex gloves, according to this report, may not prevent skin absorption of dangerous opioids, like fentanyl.
Nitrile Glove Protection
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests using nitrile gloves instead of latex gloves; latex gloves may be an issue due to the potential for allergic reactions. CDC also recommends the use of nitrile gloves with a minimum thickness of 5 mil (0.127mm). Nitrile gloves are stronger than latex and are more resistant to punctures.
It is known that these synthetic opioids are dangerous to handle; however, local law enforcement does not know of any cases where a synthetic opioid was absorbed through a latex glove and into the skin. Rather, it is more common for exposures to occur from inadvertent inhalation and contact with
Some local labs have recently started phasing out the use of latex gloves in favor of nitrile gloves. Again, the preference for nitrile over latex is due to the thickness of nitrile gloves and the potential for rash-like reactions that are sometimes caused by latex-to-skin contact.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommends wearing nitrile gloves when handling fentanyl-related or similar compounds. While the permeation of fentanyl through nitrile is unknown, nitrile gloves generally show low permeability to other hazardous drug compounds. Furthermore, powder-free nitrile gloves are recommended; powder particles from the glove may absorb the narcotic compounds, which could increase the potential for dermal contact/absorption during removal of the gloves and then spread to other, unintended surfaces. Additional NIOSH instructions for appropriate glove wearing include:
- Gloves should be neither too small nor too large.
- Gloves may tear if they are too small and overly large gloves may interfere with movement.
- Gloves should be replaced every 30 to 60 minutes of use.
- Gloves should be removed when exiting a processing location.
- New gloves should be applied when re entering same location.
- Double gloving wearing two sets of gloves is recommended when handling fentanyl related substances.
- If sleeve cuffs are present, the inner gloves should be worn under the sleeves and the outer gloves should be placed over the sleeve cuff.
- After handling the drugs, the outer gloves can be removed, but the inner gloves may be left on while labeling evidence.
- Once the task is completed, remove the second pair of gloves and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Black gloves may actually allow the wearer to better visualize the amount of drug powder residue on the glove.
The use of different colored gloves when double gloving can help expose outer glove holes and tears.
Note: The U.S. DOJ/DEA Fentanyl Guide for First Responders recommends nitrile gloves when compiling items for personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. First responders ought to maintain individual PPE kits at all times. The kit should include nitrile gloves, N-95 dust masks, sturdy eye protection, paper coveralls, shoe covers and naloxone injector(s). Latex gloves were not mentioned in the DEA report.
The Oregon TITAN Fusion Center (OTFC) can be reached at 1-877-620 4700 or
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IAPE is proud to announce a NEW one-day class
Property and Evidence Management training class for SUPERVISORS
September 21, 2017
The class has been developed for anyone that is assuming the responsibility of the property and evidence unit.
August 7 - 8, 2017
August 14 - 15, 2017
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August 22 - 23, 2017
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August 29 - 30, 2017
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September 12 - 13, 2017
September 26 - 27, 2017
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October 30 - 31, 2017
November 7 - 8, 2017
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November 14 - 15, 2017
December 4 - 5, 2017
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April 4 - 5, 2018
Classes Being Planned
April 17 - 18, 2018
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May 9 - 10, 2018
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High Point, NC
June 6 - 7, 2018
May 15 - 16
Salt Lake City, UT
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IAPE Property and Evidence Room Accreditation© is available for all law enforcement agencies who have responsibility for property and evidence received and maintained in the normal scope of their operation.