JANUARY 2017 - IAPE Monthly Newsletter
Ask Joe...
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.

To submit a question for Joe  Contact Us
Dear Joe,
Last year, our walk-in freezer (1,100 SF in size) had a malfunction in a sprinkler head, deploying water, which potentially compromised many evidentiary items in a section of that freezer.  I am in the process of making a recommendation to upper management regarding whether or not we need any kind of fire suppressing system in our freezer, going forward.  Yours and other responses I receive will inform my recommendation.



Dear Priscilla,

Thanks for the question. When I received your inquiry and forwarded to several like-sized departments and received several different responses. First of all, in some locations, the sprinkler may be a fire code / building department requirement and may not be negotiable. Your first hurdle is to determine if there is a code issue and whether it can be waived. One of the respondents to my question indicated a consideration to you is a  Dry Pipe Fire System

What is a Dry Pipe Fire Sprinkler System?
A dry pipe sprinkler system is one in which pipes are filled with pressurized air or nitrogen, rather than water. This air holds a remote valve, known as a dry pipe valve, in a closed position. Located in a heated space, the dry-pipe valve prevents water from entering the pipe until a fire causes one or more sprinklers to operate. Once this happens, the air escapes and the dry pipe valve releases. Water then enters the pipe, flowing through open sprinklers onto the fire.

Advantages of using dry pipe fire sprinkler systems include:

Dry pipe sprinkler systems provide automatic protection in spaces where freezing is possible. Typical dry pipe installations include unheated warehouses and attics, outside exposed loading docks and within commercial freezers.  


Many people view dry pipe sprinklers as advantageous for protection of collections and other water sensitive areas. This perceived benefit is due to a fear that a physically damaged wet pipe system will leak while dry pipe systems will not. In these situations, however, dry pipe systems will generally not offer any advantage over wet pipe systems. Should impact damage happen, there will only be a mild discharge delay, i.e. 1 minute, while air in the piping is released before water flow.



Headline of the Month
January 14, 2017

Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker said the FCSO is cooperating completely with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations in regards to evidence from a 2006 homicide that was found in a storage unit that once belonged to a detective. A bloody rope, an ax and boxes of paperwork were among the items of evidence found in the storage unit that belonged to FCSO Lt. Det. Robert Dodd.

The evidence was discovered by Rick Ratzlaff of Cañon City after he purchased the storage unit in an auction in December. Ratzlaff contacted the Cañon City Daily Record about the items he found and how he knew it belonged to an officer. After some self-investigating, Ratzlaff said he learned the contents were surrounding the 2006 murder of Candace Hiltz.

Hiltz, who was 17 years old at the time of her murder, was found dead Aug. 15, 2006, in a family home in the Copper Gulch area. According to Daily Record articles at the time of the murder, Hiltz suffered multiple gunshot wounds. James Hiltz, Candace's brother, was a person of interest in the murder but never was charged.

After several mental health evaluations and court proceedings in 2008, Hiltz was found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with the burglary charges and committed to the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.

Ratzlaff said he learned the contents of the shed belonged to Det. Dodd. He then said he told someone in local law enforcement about the shed and was contacted by Dodd, as well as Sheriff Beicker.

"I was told to not tell anyone about the shed," Ratzlaff said, adding that the whole situation seemed really off. "Why would they have all of this old murder evidence?," he said.

According to an article in the Pueblo Chieftain, a recording features a conversation between Beicker, Ratzlaff, FCSO Commander Jeff Worley and Ratzlaff's wife, Arin Reed."This is odd, this is really, really odd. It's a mess, it's a frickin' mess," Beicker is heard saying in the recording.

Beicker also is heard saying he will have to contact someone with the CBI to look into it, something Ratzlaff already had done himself.

The Daily Record contacted Susan Medina, the public information officer for CBI, on Jan. 5 and was told it would be investigated but never was given a confirmation if CBI was involved in the case. Beicker said he wasn't aware he was being recorded but did say officers should not take evidence home.

"What I do want people to know is that all of our officers are cooperating with CBI and that CBI was contacted immediately once I became fully aware what we were dealing with," Beicker said.

In a statement from CBI provided by FCSO on Saturday afternoon, it states CBI was requested by the FCSO to investigate an incident involving apparent evidence discovered at an off-site facility in December 2016. "Because this is an active investigation, the CBI will not offer comment on the work being conducted by agents from the Bureau's Pueblo Regional Office," the statement said.

Beicker did say that as the investigation continues, the FCSO and CBI will release information when they are able to. District Attorney Molly Chilson said the DA's office wasn't aware of this situation until the Chieftain had reached out to assistant DA Thom LeDoux.

"No, we had no knowledge of this," Chilson said, adding the DA's office could be involved in the situation, but it would be inappropriate to say what or how at this point.

According to the Chieftain's article, Hiltz last appeared in Fremont County District Court on April 8, 2015, at which time LeDoux objected to the removal of Hiltz from the Colorado Mental Health Institute.

News Commentary

Do you know what you have?  When taking over the responsibility of an evidence custodian, do you know what you are responsible for?  All too often the property room responsibilities are transferred to another employee.

Unfortunately, as the new evidence custodian we are typically not give the opportunity to complete a full inventory and you all of a sudden may be buying a pig in the poke. You have no idea what you are getting if you are assigned of volunteered for this assignment

It is imperative that the new sheriff in town or the newly assigned evidence custodian be afforded the tools such as an inventory to protect both the credibility of the department and all those employees having to deal with this critical component of the department. Read the story below and ask one questions - if inventories were being done routinely, would this  have been a story?

The class has been developed for anyone that is assuming the responsibility for the over site of the property and evidence unit. 


Below is a listing of the modules that will be covered during the live one day class.

Procedure Manual Development
L earning how to create a procedures manual for your Property and Evidence Room

* Crisis Management:
This module will focus on how to handle a crisis that may occur in a supervisor's property operation
* Organizing your Property Room:
Hands on experience with individuals and groups to reorganize their property/evidence operation

* Leadership:
In this module we will discover the leadership characteristics of each supervisor.  The instructor will then go over the personality types and discuss how knowing your personality type can help make you a better supervisor

* Investigative Process:
Property investigative processes when dealing with missing guns, drugs and money (criminal? vs administrative clearing of UTL)


I've Got Something You Don't Want!
Buckets of Money!

IAPE Property & Evidence Room Accreditation
Increase your value!

2017 Classes

February 27 - 28, 2017

March 7 - 8, 2017

March 21 - 22, 2017

March 28 - 29, 2017

April 5 - 6, 2017

April 11 - 12, 2017

April 18 - 19, 2017

May 2 - 3, 2017

May 16 - 17, 2017

June 6 - 7, 2017

June 12 - 13, 2017

June 21 - 22, 2017

June 27 - 28, 2017

July 11 - 12, 2017

July 26 - 27, 2017

August 7 - 8, 2017

August 14 - 15, 2017

August 22 - 23, 2017

  August 29 - 30, 2017

September 12 - 13, 2017

September 26 - 27, 2017

Other classes being planned in 2017

Albuquerque, NM

St. Peters, MO
Frederick, MD

Portland, OR
Flagler, FL

Burbank, CA
Columbia, MO

Can't Travel?
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Property Room

Property and Evidence By The Book 2

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