JANUARY 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.  
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Dear Joe,

I have a question regarding evidence room inventories done by peers or by part of my chain of command.  During an inventory, is the person who is doing the inventory allowed to unseal evidence in order to verify what is inside and then reseal it?  Is this acceptable?  
Any information or guidance on this would be greatly appreciated.
Dear CM,

 Very good question and the first time it has been asked! The IAPE Professional Standard (15.1 Inventory Standards), addresses having a policy on opening packages during an inventory, but doesn't go any further. As a result of your inquiry, I'm going to suggest to the IAPE Board that the standard be expanded with some of the following thoughts.

First of all, any time there is a need for a package to be opened / unsealed and examined during and audit / inspection,  by non property room personnel, the auditor or inspector for their own protection, should have a second party witness the opening and verification of the contents.  When the package has been validated, I would suggest, the package be re-sealed and include both the initials and serial numbers of the parties involved. Lastly, I would make sure the actions are documented  and dated in the property record. 

As a side note, when I'm personally doing an audit and need to inspect the contents, I will always have the Evidence Technician, with the approval of their Supervisor, open in my presence! 

Standard 15.1: Inventories 

In the event that a sealed package contains numerous items under one case number, compare the tracking number (case or control number) with the property record in the file. It may not be possible to reconcile each item without opening the package for inspection. The decision to open sealed packages should be determined by management. If it is determined that a package must be opened for inventory purposes, it is recommended that the agency have a written procedure which provides step-by-step guidance to be followed as well as the documentation of the actions. This is important in the event of a challenge regarding the chain-of-custody during a trial or hearing.



Clovis Police detective charged with embezzling
 January 14, 2020
CLOVIS, N.M. - A Clovis police detective has been charged with embezzling $166 from a man he arrested in June. Francisco Hernandez, 33, faces misdemeanor charges of embezzlement and tampering with evidence, court records show.
According to a criminal complaint filed Friday in magistrate court:
  • Hernandez took $166 in cash from a criminal suspect after the money should have been logged into evidence.
  • In December, Police Capt. Roman Romero found $144 in crumpled cash while searching Hernandez's desk in his office; Romero was looking for drug paraphernalia that had gone missing in an unrelated case.
  • Hernandez told Romero the money was his that he'd been saving from Christmas. But investigators matched the serial number on a $100 bill found in Hernandez's desk with a $100 bill that had been taken from the man arrested June 29.
  • The investigation began on Dec. 3 after an evidence custodian noted a glass pipe was missing from evidence connected to a suspected drug arrest. The custodian notified Romero about that case as well as another involving Hernandez - one in which a woman complained police had not returned between $100 and $200 she said had been taken from a man after he was arrested in June.
  • No cash was entered into evidence related to the June 29 arrest, but investigators saw $166 in cash on a table while reviewing video from that arrest. The serial number on the $100 bill, in that case, was matched to the $100 bill Romero said he found in Hernandez's desk.
  • No charges have been filed in connection with the missing pipe.
Margate cop fired after cocaine went missing
January 11, 2020

A Margate police officer has been fired after falling under suspicion of taking a man's cocaine and later testing positive for drugs, according to newly released police records. An anonymous police employee tipped off the police department about how Officer Christopher Kanan, 31, and a second officer didn't turn in apparent drug evidence to the agency , according to police records released Thursday.

The two officers had shown up to Northwest Medical Center on July 1 when a nurse found a baggie of drugs in the wallet of an emergency room patient. Kanan was the lead officer, according to the investigation nothing had been turned into the agency's property evidence room.

And when they interviewed the nurse who had called for help, she said she saw Kanan take "possession of the baggie," which she believed to be drugs. The hospital patient also told police he saw Kanan holding his "bag of cocaine," according to the report.

On July 8, Police Chief Jonathan Shaw ordered "a full panel drug test" and the next day, a captain escorted both Kanan and his backup officer to a Fort Lauderdale lab, where they were ordered to submit hair samples for testing, according to an internal affairs report. The backup officer's hair did not test for any drugs, and he was found to not be at fault.

Kannan's test came back positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines, according to the internal report, at an "amount needed to confirm multiple ingestions." Investigators then pulled hospital security video and saw him leaving the hospital "wearing black latex/rubber gloves on both hands and he appeared to have an object cupped in his right hand."Because of the Margate hospital case, Kanan was put on leave with pay on July 16 because "evidence exists" he took the cocaine.

Then he was arrested in Lantana in September after an undercover drug-bust. Lantana police used an informant to nab Kanan on charges of trying to buy an ounce of methamphetamine for $500 and a liter of GHB, a depressant, for $300, according to an arrest report.

Commentary on temporary .....
I'm guessing they didn't read the most recent issue of the Evidence Log which was sent to IAPE Members  on January 23, 2020.  We featured an exhaustive article about booking in your evidence by the end of shift. Most all recognized standards suggest the same. However these two department may not have gotten the message. Just days after our major news story!!

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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 our law enforcement agency members as well as our 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.

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