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.
Quick question....In regards to evidence destruction of evidence , do most agencies have a policy for this process? For instance, our policy states at least one special agent and one evidence custodian is required.
Is this the normal procedure in most agencies that you see? I do not see anything in Kansas Statutes regarding who should be included in destruction of evidence. Do you know if it's an actual state law or just policy?
Any thoughts would be appreciated.
My educated guess, after 600 plus classes and lots of discussion in those classes, is that most departments don't address the issue in their policy. In fact, all encompassing written polices for guidance in the property and evidence are few and far between. Your department should be applauded for requiring this practices.
When it comes to destroying guns and drugs, the best practices would suggest that a third party, meaning someone from outside the Unit, validate each item as its being staged for destruction and be present during the final destruction. (IAPE Standard 9.7 and 11.9 both address the practice)
In addition, once the destruction has occurred, the best practice is for someone to write an after action report documenting the entire process by listing the destroyed items and all of the participating parties to the process.
Former evidence tech pleads guilty to consuming
contraband held for court cases in Weber County
OGDEN, Utah, Oct. 25, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) - Candace Follum, a former evidence technician for the Weber County Sheriff's Office, has pleaded guilty to consuming contraband being held in evidence by the department for court cases.
Follum accepted a deal on Tuesday, pleading guilty to 40 charges: 20 of destroying or altering public records, a third-degree felony, and 20 of possession or used of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor. The illegal drug she sought out and consumed was methamphetamine.
The deal recommends that Follum spend a year in jail, half of it in a work-release program. She would serve her sentence at the Box Elder County Jail to avoid a conflict of interest due to her former connection with Weber County law officials. Follum's sentencing hearing is set for Dec. 18.
According to the probable cause statement, the Weber County Attorney's Office was notified on Jan. 5, 2018, that nearly a month earlier, Weber County Sheriff's officials had found Follum under the influence of methamphetamine while on duty. She told officers she had taken the meth from the evidence room, the statement says.
"In a written statement, Mrs. Follum stated, 'Over the course of 2017, I took drugs (meth) from 15-20 cases located in the evidence room. There is a box containing most of these cases located in the office in the upper cabinet, where the evidence sheets are kept.' "During a subsequent interview with a Weber County Attorney investigator, Candice Follum admitted that she had become addicted to methamphetamine while working at the Sheriff's office, and had been stealing from evidence for three years."
She used meth every other day, she told investigators, and took the drug by eating it. Follum told officials she used drugs only at work.
"A box containing packing was located in the office similar to what Mrs. Follum described," the probable cause statement says. "However, the box contained packing from approximately 60 different cases. When confronted with the fact that the evidence suggested she took drugs from many more cases, Mrs. Follum acknowledged that it was possible."
Follum told officials she would take drugs from envelopes in the drug box, then look up the cases to determine if the person was sentenced. "If the case was closed and she did not think anyone would come looking for the drugs, then that would be a case from which she would take methamphetamine."
Investigators conducted an audit of the evidence room, examining thousands of items for evidence of tampering.
"As a result of the audit and further criminal investigation, the following crimes were discovered:
"In 38 cases, investigators found evidence packaging which had originally contained methamphetamine that had been unsealed or ripped open and the contents removed. In most of these cases, the original officer at the time seizing drugs conducted a NIK test of the drugs, which tested positive for amphetamines."
In all of our IAPE classes, we stress the importance of handling drug cases where the item(s) have been adjudicated and awaiting destruction. In the above story, the defendant stated she would take drugs from envelopes in the drug box, then look up the cases to determine if the person was sentenced.
What types of internal controls could have been taken that may have discouraged the act and avoided this life long humiliation to the defendant and embarrassment to the agency? The following outline good internal controls for the destruction of guns and drugs.
Detective / case officer approval to destroy
Placement of the drugs for destruction in a an area with enhanced security (two locks, two people, cameras, etc.)
Two person rule when dealing with these items
Running inventory of all the items in the drugs for destruction area
Inventory / audit the items by a independent witness
Consider testing selected random amount
Document entire process with a after actions report.
Standard 9.6: Drugs - Storage Pending Destruction
Standard: Drugs pending destruction should always be stored in a designated area that has an enhanced level of security in the property room.
Definition: Drugs for Destruction security refers to the level of security afforded to the most vulnerable items in the evidence room.
Reasoning: Drugs pending destruction have the greatest likelihood of being pilfered from storage. Storing these items in a locked room, sealed container, secured locker, or locked file cabinet provides an enhanced level of security. This segregation may occur in the same room as active drug cases.
A "rule of two" is a principle that requires two persons to jointly move or stage the drugs awaiting destruction. A "rule of two" may be created by using two different locks on the storage container, locker, or room/vault. Each person would possess one of the keys, requiring both to be present to access the secure items.
Additionally, storing drugs for destruction in an area away from active evidence provides a method to better track and visually monitor the quantity of drugs pending destruction.
Certified Evidence Specialist
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.
Got a Job?
Need a Job?
IAPE is delighted to announce that we have a new section for posting a job announcement or checking job opportunities.
November 7 - 8, 2018
10 Seats Left
November 13 - 14, 2018
Class Full - Waitlist
December 4 - 5, 2018
9 Seats Left
December11 - 12, 2018
8 Seats Left
February 19 - 20, 2019
March 4 - 5, 2019
March 19 - 20, 2019
April 2 - 3, 2019
April 16 - 17, 2019
April 30 - May 1, 2019
May 7 - 8, 2019
May 15 - 16, 2019
May 22 - 23, 2019
June 11 - 12, 2019
June 18 - 19, 2019
August 5 - 6, 2019
August 13 - 14, 2019
September 11 - 12, 2019
October 2 - 3, 2019
ADDITIONAL CLASSES BEING PLANNED IN 2019
Salt Lake City
Polk County, FL
ARE YOU READY?
December 11, 2018
February 21, 2019
April 4, 2019
June 4, 2019
IAPE also offers
Save money on lodging, meals and travel!
To learn more about the IAPE's ONLINE TRAINING
or to register please visit:
Call for details on
sponsoring a class!