OCTOBER 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,
I recently attended another vendor's class and during a discussion on security the question of access logs was discussed. It was the opinion of the instructor that paper access logs were not necessary if the department has a video system.  Can you give me your perspective of the need of access log versus video recordings?

N from New Mexico


Dear N from New Mexico,

In response to your access log inquiry, my belief and IAPE standards would always support the idea of having a "sign-in" written access log. By having a manual access log, if gives managers and supervisors the ability to routinely inspect the log and determine the traffic and ensure only authorized personnel entering, while reviewing tapes is unlikely. Additional, trying to track down the issues on years of video could be a challenge and inspection of those video wouldn't take  place in most organizations.
In many states, the retention law may requires the tapes be purged after five - ten  years. In my opinion the video surveillance shouldn't replace the written access log as security issues can arise after many year and if the department's retention policies or statutes call for the purging of the video images in a shorter time frame you may have lost your long term records.
The IAPE standards state:

Standard 8.2: Security - Access

Reasoning: Entry into restricted storage areas should be closely controlled to prevent accusations of alteration, unauthorized removal, theft, or tampering with property or evidence stored by the agency. Access restriction protects the proper chain of custody. Those permitted access should include the property officer(s), and the supervisor. All other persons who enter the property room/storage areas must be documented in an Access Log with the reason for needing access and they should be escorted at all times while within the room and/or storage areas.

The manager/administrator who has oversight of the property unit and the Chief/Sheriff/CEO of the agency should not have independent, unescorted access into the property room and/or storage areas. If one of those individuals has a key or access, the agency should establish a system that requires another authorized person to disarm the alarm, thereby creating a two-person rule. 

As noted in Standard 8.1, having independent/unescorted access into the property room/storage areas may adversely impact an administrative inquiry and/or a criminal investigation. The agency's policy should clearly articulate that anyone, including the Chief/Sheriff/C.E.O., who has independent/unescorted access into the property room/storage areas might be investigated if there is any breach of security in those areas.

Standard 8.3: Security Access Logs Standard and access log should be maintained for documenting any entry by anyone that is not assigned to the Property Unit. 

Definition: An access log is a document that records the entry of non-assigned personnel into the property room, and why the entry was necessary. The log should record name, ID number, reason for the entry and which employee assigned to the property unit escorted the person.

Reasoning: Personnel outside the property unit may occasionally have a need to enter the storage locations of the property unit. Detectives may need to view a large piece of evidence that cannot be easily moved outside of the permanent storage location, or some type of building maintenance issue might require access. These persons should not be allowed access without immediate supervision at all times. 

Supervisors should review the access log on a monthly basis and it should also be inspected as part of a periodic audit by the agency or outside consultants. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the department policy is being complied with.

Evidence or property is often discovered missing years after the actual theft. Therefore, it is imperative that access logs be maintained for at least 10 years so that they are available to investigators. Additionally, in the event of a defense challenge in court, the retention of the logs should reflect the time period for the oldest item of evidence in the property room in the event it is challenged in court.

The following news story needs to be disseminated to all property rooms and investigators along with the link to the bill as there is a direct impact on the property room storage protocols.


Headline of the Month
October 11, 2016

Last week, 24-year-old Amanda Nguyen changed the way the government handles sexual assault and rape.

On Friday, President Obama signed the Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights - also known as H.R. 5578 - into law.

The bill received bipartisan support, passing unanimously through both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The bill was written and championed by Nguyen - a rape survivor - and the advocacy organization she created,  Rise.

The Bill of Rights gives survivors of sexual assault and rape the right to have their rape kits and other evidence preserved for the length of the statue of limitations, the right to be notified 60 days before it is destroyed, the right to request for the kit to be kept further and the right to be notified of any test results that come of any rape kit. Survivors also most be given written notice of their rights, and an active group must assess how effective these policies are.

"We want to thank President Obama for signing the Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights into law," Nguyen said. "This historic piece of legislation codifies the federal rights of the 25 million rape survivors in America and serves as a model for Statehouses to adopt."

The additional layer of trauma Nguyen found in dealing with the criminal justice system in the aftermath of her own rape led her to create her non-profit organization, which is dedicated to preserving and furthering the rights of survivors.

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, who sponsored the bill, also released a statement, "Beginning today, our nation's laws stand firmly on the side of survivors of sexual assault."

But Rise's work isn't over yet: They want there to be similar laws in place in all 50 states, and that's what they'll be working on next.
"Rise will now turn its efforts to state legislatures to ensure these critical rights are enacted in all 50 states," Nguyen said.

Photos of the Month
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2016 Classes

November 1 - 2 , 2016
November 14 - 15, 2016

November 16 - 17, 2016
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    December 6 -7, 2016
  Class Full

December 14 - 15, 2016
13 Seats Left

2017 Classes

February 27 - 28, 2017

March 7 - 8, 2017

March 21 - 22, 2017

March 28 - 29, 2017

April 18 - 19, 2017

May 2- 3, 2017

May 16 - 17, 2017

July 11 - 12, 2017

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