JANUARY 2016 - 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.
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Dear Joe,

My department has a number of homeless encampments throughout the city and we get a lot of "stuff" everyday related to arrests, protests, etc. According to city ordinance, we are required to retain the property for Safekeeping until the person gets released from jail. Unfortunately, it placing my staffing in a position of having to deal with items, bugs, vermin, rotten food, lice and all sort of other undesirables that can be a detriment to my employees. What are other departments doing to manage with this type of property?

Thank you,
RJ Buggs

Dear  RJ Buggs,
The day that I received your inquiry I had just visited a department here in Southern California and while touring the facility they pointed out the area where they store the Safekeeping property, specifically belonging to homeless.  The minute I walked into the storage area, my mouth dropped, and said, "why didn't I think of that?"

The department has approximately 1,400 officers and they bring in the same types of property that you are talking about every single day from different precincts. Their solution was nothing more than clever!

When they receive the large amounts of "stuff" from one person, the owner gets his or her own personalized trash container as shown. In California, we are fortunate that we only have to keep most of this Safekeeping Property for 60 days, however some city ordinances require a longer period.

As you can see by the storage room, the personalized bins are stored for 60 days and then recycled to be used again. The advantage to these bins is that most all of issues you described above are contained in a sealable container, including the odor.  When the owner comes to retrieve their belonging, they are getting their property back and it has only handled by property personnel to place them in the container and return. The only cost to this programs was the initial purchase of the containers. 

Headline of the Month
Springfield, Mass - A now-retired Springfield police officer who allegedly stole nearly $400,000 in cash from the department's evidence room was arraigned in superior court on theft charges.

Date: January 11, 2016

Former Officer Kevin M. Burnham , who retired in the summer of 2014, turned himself in earlier in the day. He is being charged with six counts of larceny over $250 and one count of larceny under $250. The Massachusetts Attorney General's office says the stolen money came from some 170 different drug cases, and was allegedly being taken by Burnham between December 2009 and July 2014.

Burnham, a 43 year veteran officer who was the longest-serving member of the department at the time of his retirement, had been the department's narcotics evidence officer since 1984. In that position, he was in charge of storage and safekeeping of money and drug evidence.

During a news conference at police headquarters Monday morning, Police Commissioner John Barbieri said that he was shocked by the theft, which had led to the return of funds to alleged drug dealers, and even the dismissal of some cases.

"I've been a police officer in Springfield for 28 years. I cannot remember anything happening of this magnitude in this department," Barbieri said.

Burnham pleaded not guilty during his arraignment at Hampden Superior Court Monday, and was released on personal recognizance provided he agreed to turn over his passport. He also must turn over his guns, and notify his probation officer if he travels out of state. He will also be examined by a court clinician.

Burnham is due back in court on Tuesday, January 19. Burnham's attorney at this time is Charles Dolan. 22News spoke with Dolan outside the courtroom.

("Your client pleaded not guilty today (Monday), is he saying he's not responsible?)

"He pleaded not guilty, at this particular point in time we have no information from the government as to the nature and details of the charges or allegations."

arbieri said that upon taking office as the city's police commissioner, he requested an audit of all cash and evidence. He said that last February, it was discovered that about $385,000 in cash was missing. He had his officers investigate further, to determine whether the cash was misplaced or improperly stored, but it was determined that was not the case. He then turned the matter over to the state police and the attorney general's office, which ultimately brought the charges against Burnham.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said that he was "greatly saddened, and angered, and shocked" by what allegedly took place. He and Barbieri both said that they have taken measures to ensure something like this does not happen again. Measures being taken include a change in the command structure and the purchase of new equipment to better track their cash.

IAPE Professional Standards recommend that annual audits and regular inspections occur at least annually along with annual inventories.  With close to $400,000 missing over 5 years, can we assume that audits and inspections may have been overlooked? 


Urine Storage

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