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 need help. The employees, to include all my higher ups in the Sheriff's Office that I work in has expressed their dislike to the smell of marijuana; probably the most potent smell of all the different drugs that I have stored in the evidence rooms. For a long-term solution, I am looking into creating a "Drug Room" with an additional ventilation system. However, I need a short term solution immediately. I am looking into portable air purifiers and am wondering if you have any suggestions on purifiers, in addition to suggestions on issue of odor?
Dear Odora Moore,
First of all having all drugs in one room with enhance security is always recommended. In addition the room should be ventilated in accordance to:
IAPE Professional Standards
- NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Standard 9.4: Drugs - Storage
: Drugs should be stored separately from general evidence items in a
location with enhanced security.
: Regardless of the size needed, a drugs storage area should be designed in a manner that it is separate from general evidence, provides enhanced security, environmental safety, and easy retrieval.
: The size of drug storage needed is dependent upon the anticipated quantity of drugs needing storage. A small agency may only need a locker or file cabinet; a medium size agency may need a closet or cage, while a larger agency may need an entire room or walk-in vault. All drug enclosures should have an independent method of being locked.
Standard 9.5: Drugs Ventilation Standard
Dedicated drug storage rooms should have a ventilation system that vents odors and fumes to the exterior of the building.
Ventilation refers to the circulation of fresh, outside air, within the drugs room to prevent health and environmental hazards.
Reasoning: Any area that is used for storing drugs should be independently ventilated in a manner that noxious fumes are removed from the building and not re-circulated into the building's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. The proper design of a drug storage area should include a "negative pressure" ventilation system that changes the air in the storage room approximately 10-12 CPH (changes per hour). Negative pressure is defined as a method of providing low-velocity airflow from uncontaminated areas into contaminated areas by means of a portable exhaust system equipped with HEPA filters."
Headline of the Month
LOPD Conducts Evidence Destruction
LIVE OAK - Instead of bringing evidence in, three members of the Live Oak Police Department spent time Wednesday morning taking old evidence out. Twenty-two boxes of drugs and evidence that no longer held any evidentiary value were loaded up and taken to a privately-owned, off-site facility in Suwannee County for destruction.
The periodic destruction was witnessed by the State Attorney's Office for the Third Circuit and LOPD officers. The contraband and evidence were no longer needed in conjunction with previously resolved cases; cases with no suspects or victims and/or cases where the suspect has no appeals pending.
Approximately half of the destroyed items was drug related. Jason Rountree, the LOPD's lead detective and evidence custodian, said most of the drugs destroyed were found in small quantities, although one batch of evidence had a street value of more than half a million dollars. The rest of the evidence destroyed Wednesday was clothing and material.
Rountree said ideally evidence would be destroyed annually but due to several factors - such as LOPD not having its own facility to conduct the destruction and having to sort through all the evidence on hand - it sometimes can build up.
Once evidence is determined ready for destruction, authorities and a representative from the State Attorney's Office have to go through the evidence item by item to make sure no items have any evidentiary value and to log those items. The contraband was destroyed under court order by being incinerated.
When you advertise to the community of the drug destruction process and location in the local media you are only asking for a problem as there is a certain element of the community that would be most interested in the contents. IAPE would strongly urge departments not to advertise the event.
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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.
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