MARCH 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.

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Dear Joe,
I am currently preparing a staff study on the use of web-based auctions. I am trying to show that there is a nationwide problem with overcrowded property/evidence rooms. Do you know or have any statistics on such a topic or general articles. 
Lt. Gotalot


Dear Lt. Gotalot,

I don't have any scientifically based surveys, however, I have anecdotal evidence from audits performed in nearly 100 departments throughout the USA and Canada. In reviewing those audits, it is much easier to cite examples of those two or three agencies that were NOT currently out of space or soon to be out of space. 
In addition to performing audits, I have taught over 750 property and evidence management classes to over 30,000 individuals from all 50 states, and all of the Providences in Canada. I routinely perform an informal poll in these classes and ask how many agencies represented think they have a space problem. There is an overwhelming response, probably in the 90th percentile, from personnel that believe their agency has a space problem. As a result, I strongly agree with your premise that there is a nationwide problem with overcrowded property/evidence rooms. 
The simple reason for the overcrowded property and evidence rooms in most agencies is that they don't assign sufficient man-hours to the purging process. Performing the research needed for purging is a very labor-intensive process. Each item of evidence has a measure of time associated with its removal. Once a property officer gets behind in purging, he/she cannot get caught up without spending additional hours or shortcutting the process. 
When a property officer doesn't purge as many items as he/she takes in, the agency will eventually run out of space. It is common for agencies to remove only two or three items for every 10 items coming in. 
At this rate, the inventory can easily double in 3 or 4 years. Few departments get rid of as many items every year as they receive. However, it can be done with sufficient personnel and support from the top of the organization. 
Regarding online auctions, has a positive reputation among over 3,000 law enforcement agencies that now use this service. There may be some agencies that conduct their own auctions using or their own in-house websites, but the actual labor costs to maintain the website and conduct the auction probably exceeds the revenue.  A quote from Joe, "we generally don't have space problems, we have system problem in purging the no longer needed evidence."  It's not unusual for inventories to be comprised of 70% - 80% misdemeanor evidence. In most states the SOL - Statute of Limitation is one year, some states are longer. The question to always, ask unless the case has a warrant or appeal has been filed, why do we have all of the misdemeanor evidence? Easy answer, insufficient time or staffing and processes to routinely evaluate aged evidence.

News of the Day 

This months IAPE news story is about 17 stories since April of 2016 where almost $1,500,000 has been stolen from property rooms across the United States and Canada. The question to ask, is why are we still keeping all of this money in the property room? Story after story we read about the theft, then the chief asks, "why do we have so much money in the property room?" The next step is generally the department then starts depositing all of the money into a financial institute. We need to reverse the trend and put the money in the bank before the scandal and remove the temptations, as money almost never goes to court. 

March 26, 2017
Chamberlain, SD
Former South Dakota trooper sentenced to 5 years in theft case  ($69,000)
March 6, 2017 Simpsonville, KY
Former Simpsonville police officer gets 12 years for P.D. robbery ($30,000)
March 2, 2017 Hollywood, FL
Hollywood Police Chief responds to findings of gross mismanagement of Property and Evidence Unit ($137,000)
March 1, 2017 Framingham, MA
Framingham officer admitted to stealing money, state says ($70,000)
Jan 1, 2017     Halifax, NS. Canada
Tens of thousands of dollars, several kilograms of drugs missing from Halifax police evidence
Jan 2, 2017    Westford, MA
Investigation into Missing Money from Westford Police Evidence Room Nearly Done
Feb 2, 2017 Bradenton, FL
Two former Bradenton Police employees charged with theft of at least ( $20,000)
Jan 24, 2017      Central Point, OR
Former OSP evidence tech gets prison for  ( $50,000) in thefts
Jan 23, 2016     Acadia Parish, LA
Audit: Acadia Parish forfeiture thefts more than initially reported - Theft nears ($25,000)
Dec 1, 2016         North Slope, AK
Ex-North Slope police employee gets prison time for stealing over ( $100K) from evidence room
Nov 7, 2016    Cadillac, MI
A former state police sergeant in charge of a post's evidence room is accused of stealing nearly ($10,000)
Sept 14, 2016 Braintree, MA
Braintree police audit shows ($407,998) and 60 guns missing from evidence room
Sept 7, 2016     Bothell, WA
Former employee charged with stealing ($51,500) from Bothell police evidence room
Aug 25th 2016 Petersburg, VA
Petersburg PD files ($20K) insurance claim after money 'stolen' from evidence room
Aug 16, 2016 Springfield, MA
Audit reports call for expanded controls on Springfield Police evidence room after alleged theft of nearly ($400,000)
June 15, 2016 Leesburg, VA
Loudoun Deputy Sentenced to 3 year in Federal Prison for stealing ($229,000)
April13, 2016 Tallahassee, FL
FDLE: Woman Stole ($60,000) from Suwannee County, Evidence Vault

  Photo of the Month

Not Stacked and One Deep
Stacked and Two Deep

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IAPE Property & Evidence Room Accreditation
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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.

2017 Classes

April 5 - 6, 2017
Only 8 Seats Left

April 11 - 12, 2017

April 18 - 19, 2017

May 2 - 3, 2017

May 16 - 17, 2017
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Elk Grove, CA
May 22, 2107
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June 6 - 7, 2017

June 12 - 13, 2017

June 21 - 22, 2017

June 27 - 28, 2017

July 11 - 12, 2017
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July 26 - 27, 2017

August 7 - 8, 2017

August 14 - 15, 2017

August 22 - 23, 2017

  August 29 - 30, 2017

September 12 - 13, 2017

NMPET Conference
September 12 - 13, 2017

September 26 - 27, 2017

October 18 - 19, 2017

October 30 - 31, 2017

November 7 - 8, 2017

November 14 - 15, 2017

Other classes being planned in 2017

Burbank, CA

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Property Room

Property and Evidence By The Book 2