APRIL 2020 - IAPE Monthly Newsletter
Ask Joe...
Each month, IAPE's primary instructor and Executive Director, 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.   To submit a question for Joe   Contact Us    
Dear Joe,
I have been asked by my Captain to look into any grants for helping us with getting some of our old homicide case with biological evidence to get tested. Can you provide me with any guidance?

I am researching a member question. They wanted to know if, there has been any special guidance issued regarding the collection and storage of evidence that potentially has been exposed to COVID-19 . I guess the prime example would be during a death investigation where items are collected from the crime scene and then stored in the evidence room. 

I don't think PPE is an issue since they do that when handling evidence already, since most items are stored in paper products, is this a safe way to handle and store?

Any guidance would be appreciated. I sent this question also to the IACP also to see what they say.

Tim Culp
Executive Director, NCAPE

Dear Tim,

With the assistance of several of our board members, we found some very beneficial  information that maybe of some assistance. The first bit of information is from www.webmd.com/ . In the second part of the response is some information received from one of our board members .

How Long Does the Coronavirus Live on Surfaces? The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 mainly spreads from person to person. When someone who is infected coughs or sneezes, they send droplets containing the virus into the air. A healthy person can then breathe in those droplets. You can also catch the virus if you touch a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes.

Coronavirus: What you Need to Know  The coronavirus can live for hours to days on surfaces like countertops and doorknobs. How long it survives depends on the material the surface is made from.

Here's a guide to how long coronaviruses -- the family of viruses that includes the one that causes COVID-19 -- can live on some of the surfaces you probably touch on a daily basis. Keep in mind that researchers still have a lot to learn about the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19. For example, they don't know whether exposure to heat, cold, or sunlight affects how long it lives on surfaces. They also don't know how much of the virus it takes to cause an infection. But you're probably more likely to catch it from being around someone who has it than from touching a contaminated surface.

Metal : doorknobs, jewelry, silverware -  5 days
Wood : furniture, decking -  4 days
Plastic s: packaging like milk containers and detergent bottles, subway and bus seats, backpacks, elevator buttons
2 to 3 days
Stainless steel : refrigerators, pots and pans, sinks, some water bottles -  2 to 3 days
Cardboard : shipping boxes -  24 hours
Copper : pennies, teakettles, cookware -  4 hours
Aluminum : soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles -  2 to 8 hours
Glass : drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows -  Up to 5 days
Ceramics : dishes, pottery, mugs -  5 days
Paper The length of time varies. Some strains of coronavirus live for only a few minutes on paper, while others live for up to 5 days.

Food Coronavirus doesn't seem to spread through exposure to food. Still, it's a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables under running water before you eat them. Scrub them with a brush or your hands to remove any germs that might be on their surface. Wash your hands after you visit the supermarket. If you have a weakened immune system , you might want to buy frozen or canned produce.

Water Coronavirus hasn't been found in drinking water. If it does get into the water supply, your local water treatment plant filters and disinfects the water, which should kill any germs.
Coronaviruses can live on a variety of other surfaces, like fabrics and countertops. One study tested the shoe soles of medical staff in a Chinese hospital intensive care unit (ICU) and found that half were positive for nucleic acids from the virus. But it's not clear whether these pieces of the virus cause infection. The hospital's general ward, which had people with milder cases, was less contaminated than the ICU.

What You Can Do 
To reduce your chance of catching or spreading coronavirus, clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects in your home and office every day. This includes:

  • Countertops
  • Tables
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Remote controls
  • Toilets

Use a household cleaning spray or wipe. If the surfaces are dirty, clean them first with soap and water and then disinfect them.

Keep surfaces clean, even if everyone in your house is healthy. People who are infected may not show symptoms, but they can still shed the virus onto surfaces.

After you visit the drugstore or supermarket, or bring in takeout food or packages, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Do the same thing after you pick up a delivered newspaper.
Below are some other recommendations from Ellen Spain, Forensic Evidence Manager -Virginia Department of Forensic Science. This information came from a NIST promoted Webinar regarding Digital Evidence and COVID-10. Secondly recommendations that have been provided to the hospitals collecting SART Kits.

Digital Evidence Decontamination/Handling Reminders
  • Identify areas where contamination items are handled 
  • If concern is damage-test on surfaces
  • Bleach solution 1:10
    • Read label on wipes to ensure 0.52% sodium hypochlorite as the active ingredient
    • Minimum 1 minute kill time-does not mean 1 minute dry time
  • Properly dispose of contaminated items
Re-infection does not appear likely 

Bottom line is: suspected of contamination use gloves, mask/respirators, face shields, over garments

SART Kits (Sexual Assault Kits)  Decontamination
If any SART Kit is suspected of be contaminated the outer SART Kits (Sexual Assault Kits)  can be decontaminated by treating with a cleaner such as Oxivir or another disinfecting agent listed in the CDC guidelines.  Do not oversaturate the box, which could destroy the integrity of the box or contaminate the contents (biological samples) with the cleaner.  Care should also be taken not to destroy any markings/labeling or tracking information on the outside of the box or the SART Kits (Sexual Assault Kits).  (Labelling with a Sharpie or other impermeable marker is recommended) in this situation. Allow the box surface to dry before giving the box to law enforcement.

Alternatively, the sealed SART Kits (Sexual Assault Kits)  can be placed in a clean, clear plastic bag.  The bag should not be sealed as it needs to breath.

Joe Latta
Executive Director

  News:  Events and Trends
Officials announce world's oldest cold case solved using genetic genealogy in Colorado (57 years)

Coloradans don't have to look far to find the world's oldest cold case to be solved using genetic genealogy.  
 March 17, 2020
JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) - Coloradans don't have to look far to find the world's oldest cold case to be solved using genetic genealogy. 

Officials in Jefferson County made that announcement Thursday involving a homicide that happened when John F. Kennedy was president.

It has been almost 57 years since Margaret "Peggy" Beck, 16, was raped and killed at a Girl Scout camp in Jefferson County. DNA evidence led to an arrest warrant being issued.

James Raymond Taylor would be 80 years old now. He is being sought by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office on suspicion of sexual assault and murder.

"Nothing would give us greater pleasure than to actually put the handcuffs on James Taylor," said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader. 

Taylor is accused of raping and killing Beck - a Girl Scout camp counselor - on Aug. 18, 1963 at what was called Flying G Ranch.

"There were marks on her neck and there were signs of a sexual assault that had occurred," said sheriff's investigator Elias Alberti.

Mitch Morrissey, former Denver District Attorney, has been helping in the investigation.

"Her tent mate got sick and spent the evening at the infirmary," Morrissey said. "So she was in the tent by herself."

Morrissey works for United Data Connect, a company that was instrumental in helping Jefferson County investigate genetic genealogy for the cold case. "Nowhere in the world have they solved a case this old with genetic genealogy," Morrissey said.

Shrader says solving cold cases is important not only to seek justice, but to bring closure after years of heartache.
"Her three sisters are alive, and this is a painful time for them," Shrader said. Beck was a student at North High School. She was the oldest of four girls.

Investigators say preserved DNA evidence from the crime scene was used to create profiles in 2007 and again in 2019. Those profiles were used to match similar profiles in online consumer databases leading investigators to Taylor's relatives. "We have spent several months searching for James Taylor with no luck," Alberti said. Deputies do not know if Taylor is alive. They say he has a rap sheet from the Las Vegas area dating back to the early 1970s. He was last seen near Vegas in 1976.


Need Training Right Now?

The Full online course class option is a great choice if you want much of the same training as the Live classes but without the travel and time away from the department. The IAPE Property and Evidence Management video Course is approximately 14 hours in length  and was prepared by Law Enforcement Personnel for Law Enforcement Personnel. Completion of the course meets the training requirements for becoming a Certified Property and Evidence Specialist (CPES).

Below is a listing of our individual class options for those who may have limited time and want to get specific training in the most needed areas within the evidence room.

This video provides material useful to Property Room personnel as well as Auditors regarding the preparation for and procedure of conducting an audit of the Property Room. Additionally you will also learn various aspects of conducting inventories and how they differ from audits.

Security Video:  This video focuses on the best ways to secure your Property Room as well as common mistakes that you should avoid. You will also learn about many types of products and procedures which will enhance the security of your facility. INCLUDES SPECIAL BONUS VIDEO ON ELECTRONIC SECURITY.

Documentation, Chain of Custody and Automation:  These 2 video modules provide an understanding of the Chain of Custody within the property room, along with an overview of the various internal controls needed to properly track and manage you evidence when it leaves your department for court, crime lab or out for investigations . Additionally, the video also discusses the advantages of automating the tracking process, Found Property and Property for Safekeeping.



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Become a 
Certified Evidence Specialis t

Along with the IAPE's extensive  evidence training courses, the IAPE offers our members the opportunity to become Certified Property and Evidence Specialists. 

Certification is available to law enforcement agency members as well as corporate members. The designation of CPES or CCPES indicates that the holder is a professional who has completed requirements in training; has worked in the field for a required period of time; and has demonstrated their knowledge of professional standards through a written test. More than 2,000 IAPE members have achieved the CPES or CCPES designation.