NOVEMBER 2015 - 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,

We are currently in the process of looking at options regarding the purchase of a refrigeration unit for the storage of BAC kits, and we would like to know what you would recommend and why.  One question we had was "does it need to have generator back-up?".

Valerie w/VPD Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Valerie,

That's an easy one!  There are several options that are all dependent on your budget.  If you are looking for a commercial evidence refrigerator, go no farther than Spacesaver or Tiffin Metal Products. Both can provide you with outstanding products designed for items needing temporary storage.

Remember, you want to chose a product that when the door(s) are closed that no one other than the evidence custodian has access to open.  Never allow officer(s) to secure evidence in a common use refrigerator where other could gain access to the already secured evidence.   

In those instances when your budget is limited, the below photo shows several different options. First is a typical 12- 15 cubic foot refrigerator / freezer unit, each locker has a separate lock that is attached.

The next photo is a typical under the counter office refrigerator that has been appropriately installed under a packaging counter. Note: this unit has a one -time use.  Once the padlock  is secured it cannot be used again. Arrangement could be made for the Watch Commander (OIC) to have access to a secure key. 

The last example is a drop slot into the refrigerator like a mail box. Again, once the item is dropped in the evidence is no longer available to the submitting officer. With any type of drop box, make sure that the design ensures that the item(s) can't be fished out with a coat hanger, etc. 

Y our second question about a generator may be accomplished with having your electrician drop a line to the area that is directly to you department generator that may be used for your dispatch center or other such operation.

Headline of the Month
DNA Helps Crack 45 Year Old Case
Date: October 13, 2015

45 years after Doris Rivers, a 21-year-old El Paso mother, was found stabbed to death inside her home, detectives announced Monday a suspect in her case is now in custody. At a morning news conference, detectives said Willie James Johnson, 70, was arrested on September 28 in Madison County, Mississippi after new DNA testing linked him to the murder. He is now awaiting extradition to El Paso.

Johnson was a 25-year-old Fort Bliss soldier when the crime happened in November of 1970. Police said Johnson wanted a romantic relationship with Rivers, but she resisted. A relative found Rivers' body inside her South-Central El Paso home on November 12 of that year.

Investigators on the scene were able to collect DNA evidence (finger nail clippings) from Rivers' body. The DNA was placed into evidence and though several suspects, including Johnson, were interviewed, no arrests were made and the case went cold. Detectives on Monday said Rivers' granddaughter contacted El Paso police in 2013 asking for information on the case. The department retrieved the stored DNA and sent it to a state forensics lab which identified Johnson as a match.

Rivers' son DeVon, who was 5 years old at the time of his mother's murder, declined an interview but said, "I thank the detectives and the El Paso Police Department and all those in Mississippi who helped.

In all of our two day training classes we make issue about our property room holding a treasure trove of evidence that has been forgotten. In many case the detective have long since changed department, retired and or pass on. As the case get older everyone in the organization forget or was never aware of that 45 year old case where the evidence is buried in the property room. This case is an outstanding example how the evidence was completely forgotten. This case was only resurrected when the victim's granddaughter made a personal inquiry to the department asking the status of the case. Listen to the press release at and understand the case may never have been solved without the inquiry from the family.  We in law enforcement need to ensure that these older cases be reviewed for the family members. This is especially true in smaller department where that has been generation changes and no one has any memory of this aged cases. 


Photo of the Month:

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