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.
I was recently at the Minneapolis class and found it extremely informative. I do have a question for you that you might be able to help with or lead me in a direction. I recently came into possession of some property that was with a subject that was murdered, burned, and buried. Obviously, with decomp and diesel fuel that is going to cause some heavy odors. I don't think we've had anything to this extent needing to be housed in our current facility before. I assume there are containers or something that could house these items to preserve them, but also not have our property room smelling and getting bugs. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I have just the solution for you. The purchase of flammable lockers can easily be found by doing a Google Search for flammable lockers. The next challenge is the removal of the fumes. I have included a photo from the Tucson Police Department in Tucson, Arizona that was provided by Board Member Nancy McKayHIlls (Retired Manager of the unit). As you can see in the photo, the cabinet(s) have all been vented with PVP pipes at the suggestion of their fire department. Hope this helps.
More than 50% of KCPD's evidence
affected by fire
New court records reveal an evidence warehouse fire in August 2018 affected more than 50% of the evidence stored there.
Defense attorney Dan Ross has been outspoken about wanting to learn more about the fire since in happened. The new records, including an affidavit from Servpro, came up in his case defending Robert Townsend, who's accused of a double murder in March 2017.
"It is a big deal," Ross said. "A lot of times cases hinge on one word, one bit of evidence."
Ross said in Townsend's case, a T-shirt may be a crucial piece of evidence, but the evidence was damaged by the water used to put out the fire.
"They didn't take the soaked, wet, soggy bags out of the warehouse because trial was coming up,' Ross said. "They just let them sit there, and they got moldy and moldy and moldy."
According to Servpro, 54% of the bins had been affected and that the warehouse was storing hundreds of thousands of evidence bags.
The work took the company 98 days to complete.
"I want it all. I want to see what the fire did to the property," Ross said.
He also has concerns about the chain of custody of the evidence when Servpro workers were handling it.
Kansas City police said they are confident Servpro handled the evidence up to their standards when processing it from the building.
Ross said prosecutors and police have been reluctant to release information. He worries some people are waiting, unaware that evidence in their cases is gone.
"As a defense practitioner, I'm discouraged a little bit or disappointed," Ross said. "Slowly but surely, we are getting the information that we need."
Officials said they haven't had any cases dismissed as a result of the fire and are continuing to inventory evidence impacted.
Ross understands police need to be cautious and says there's still much more to learn.
"Nobody's been down this road before," he said. "What do you do when the evidence room burns up?"
My commentary with this news story is two fold. First, listen to the Defense Attorney, in the video and listen to his concerns and challenges. If you were to have a fire, the issue of wet evidence and not dried properly, could end up as defense challenge. In some of the earlier stories there was much discussion on the origin of the fire. There was never anything conclusive, but there was cell phone(s) in or on the nearby shelves. If that was the source of the fire, what might we do differently in the future?
In the above question from our reader about the fumes and odors, we may have partially solved the issue. Due to the fact phones / batteries have been a constant concern in our property room, could we not in fact store / isolate both phones and lithium batteries in a similar cabinet and possibly mitigate some of the issues?
A special thank you to
from the Lincoln Police Department (OR) for sharing her
Kween of the Krapola
photo with us!
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