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,

This question has just come up to our agency via our state auditors and it concerns handling of money. Do you know of any law enforcement agencies that have required their evidence and property custodians / officers to be bonded because they sometimes take in money as evidence? In my own situation, I have taken money in as evidence, but only have released it back to its proper owner or in the case of forfeiture,  turned it over to our local district attorney's office for handling. I'll appreciate any info you can give me about this.
Cpl. David Ellis Evidence Custodian
West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office
St. Francisville, LA 70775

  To submit a question for Joe  Contact Us

Dear Dave,

This question has only been asked once in 20 years. I am not aware of any police department requiring property room personnel to be bonded.   One of the most important policies to have in place in selecting or hiring personnel to work in a property room is to  require proper vetting of the individual.   Anytime a department can do a full back ground , including criminal history, drug testing, polygraphs and financial screening, you will be ahead.  Some departments require random drug testing as a condition of employment  See IAPE Professional Standard 1.2 Staff - Backgrounds for additional.

Joe Latta
Executive Director


Fentanyl banned from courtrooms

Fentanyl and carfentanil will be banned from Bay State, Ma courtrooms beginning next week because trial court officials fear the potentially deadly risk of handling the potent and toxic opioids.

Fentanyl and carfentanil will be banned from Bay State courtrooms beginning next week because trial court officials fear the potentially deadly risk of handling the potent and toxic opioids.
"We have worked to try to find a way to balance the risks posed by the presence of fentanyl and carfentanil into the courthouse environment, the interests of the parties in the admissions of such substances and the rights of the criminal defendants," wrote Paula Carey, chief justice of the trial court, in a memo released yesterday. "As a result, effective January 8, 2018, substances containing any amount of fentanyl or carfentanil are banned from entry into the courthouse."
The drugs will be allowed under very limited circumstances. People who have a valid prescription for a medication containing fentanyl will be permitted to bring it into court, according to the memo. Judges can also allow the drugs in as evidence if it is determined that it is "necessary for the commonwealth to prove its case or to protect a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial," the memo states.
The Herald first reported the push to ban fentanyl and carfentanil from courtrooms in November.
If a judge doesn't allow the substances into court, attorneys seeking to present the drugs as evidence will have to use photos, videos or witness testimony.
Randy Gioia, deputy chief counsel of the Public Defender Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said there are some concerns about the ban. He said he hopes the policy doesn't take the courts back to a time when a signed certificate from a Bay State drug lab "was enough to prove that the substance tested was illegal and still existed at the time of trial."
"We hope this policy will not give drug labs another reason to take a shortcut at the expense of the constitutional rights of people accused of crimes," Gioia said in a statement.
The Massachusetts District Attorneys Association, which represents the state's 11 top prosecutors, supports the initiative.
"I think this balances the rights of all parties," MDAA president and Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said. "It offers alternative methods by which you can bring the evidence into the courtroom. It's a good start."
The memo also says that if the drugs are allowed in court for a trial, they must be packaged in a manner approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration and can only be touched by people who have been trained to handle fentanyl and carfentanil.

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Commentary: Some might read this article and say to themselves, what a great idea, why aren't we doing that? Well, in some states you can. Here in California, judges have the authority to deem certain hazardous items including drugs, as a danger and judges can ban in their courts. Does your state have a similar statute that may assist in the task? Possibly statutes in the future could allow us to retain just a photo and analysis from the crime lab. Think about it! Below I have provide the statute in California that allow this do be done.

1417.3.  California Penal Code
(b) Exhibits toxic by their nature that pose a health hazard to humans shall be introduced to the court in the form of a photographic record and a written chemical analysis certified by competent authority. Where the court finds that good cause exists to depart from this procedure, toxic exhibits may be brought into the courtroom and introduced. However, following introduction of the exhibit, the person or persons previously in possession of the exhibit shall take responsibility for it and the court shall not be required to store the exhibit.

Photos of the Month
Good Housekeeping
Bad Housekeeping



Property Room


2018 Classes 
February 26  - 27, 2018
9 Seats Left

March 13 - 14, 2017
13 Seats Left

March 28 - 29, 2018
15 Seats Left

April 4 - 5, 2018

Northbrook, IL
April 11 - 13, 2018

April 17 - 18, 2018

May 9 - 10, 2018

May 15 - 16, 2018

May 22 - 23, 2018

June 6 - 7, 2018

June 20 - 21, 2018

June 26 - 27, 2018

 July 17 - 18, 2018

 July 30 - 31, 2018

August 13 - 14, 2018

August 21 - 22, 2018

August 28 - 29, 2018

September 11 - 12, 2018

September 25 - 26, 2018

October 2 - 3, 2018

October 16 - 17, 2018

December 4 - 5, 2018

Classes Still Being Planned 
 in 2018

Portland, OR

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Be On The Look Out in 2018
IAPE is proud to announce the  one-day Property and Evidence Management training class for SUPERVISORS, which has been developed for anyone that is assuming the responsibility of the property and evidence unit. 

Date: TBD 2018
Location: TBD 2018

IAPE Property & Evidence Room Accreditation
Increase your value!
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.

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