IAPE Monthly Newsletter & Updates
November 2020
Ask Joe...Each month, IAPE's primary instructor and Executive Director, Joe Latta, answers one of your questions pertaining to your everyday property and evidence room questions.
To submit a question for Joe, Contact Us
Dear Joe,
I am new to the property room and have very few operating procedures. I recently had an officer come to my counter and requested evidence for court when he observed a brand-new set of bolt cutters sitting in a box labeled “for auction” next to my desk. The officer made a note and asked if those are going to auction. Can I have them to use it in my patrol car as there are situations that arise where I could use them? It seemed like a very legitimate request, and we could save the Department some money, but I was not sure how to handle the request as I have no guidance in the process. Can you make any recommendations?

Thank you,
New to Property Room
Dear New to Property Room,
This is a very legitimate question and let me provide you some thoughts about the process. The process you are asking about is referred to as diverting or converting property to Department, city, or county use. One of the very first tasks is to determine whether or not your state, County, or city has any statutes that govern the process. In my professional opinion, I would say the vast majority of states have some provision within the laws that allow the process.

Once you determine that the process is statutorily legal, a policy would define in the diversion process. If items are in the inventory that the case has been adjudicated and can be used for department use, there should be a justification memo written through the chain of command to the property room from the officer or their supervisor. 

In the case of the bolt cutters, the requesting officer or supervisor would write a “justification memo” to the property room’s commanding officer with a formal written request for the item(s) to be “diverted" to department use. In the memo, the requesting party needs to outline the need for that particular item and why it would benefit the agency. The “justification memo” would then be sent via the chain of command to the final decision-maker.

The policy would define how far up the chain of command this request would go. In some departments, the decision may be at a captain's level in a small department that may go all the way to the Chief. As the “justification memo” moves through the chain of command for approval, it should be the responsibility of management to ask the question, "is this a legitimate request or just something nice to have?". 

As a preferred practice, if the final decision-maker determines that the diversion is in line with the Department's needs, the completed paperwork would go to a third party for final approval. The third-party(dependent upon the community's size) could be the Purchasing Director, City Manager, Mayor, etc. In the city that I retired from, a City Administrative Code allowed to process as long it was approved by the Purchasing Director. Once the Purchasing Director completed the form, it would be returned to the Police Department to allow the transfer of the item(s) to the city's possession and later transferred to the requesting officer or unit. When the transfer is complete, it's recommended that the receiving party sign on the original property record that they have taken possession of the item(s). Additionally, all of the paperwork work would be filed in a Diversion File and retained long term.

A special note to any decision-makers, don’t allow shopping sprees in the property room looking for something the department might need in the future (after adjudication of the case). This will only take up valuable space in the property room and may never be used. 

Visit IAPE Professional Standards - Section 14.5 Disposition – Diversion for additional information. 
Visit https://home.iape.org/evidence-resources/iape-documents.html

Once, again another Event that could surely become a Trend based on current news. These trends could have a huge impact on Property Rooms in the future. Just legalize everything and our intake numbers will diminish and give us time to purge. For example, in Oregon, the voters have recently decriminalize small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. If you were to total the number of packages of cocaine, heroin, meth and marijuana (small amounts), usually personal use in the property room, what percent of your inventory would fall into this category? Additionally, all of the other items of paraphernalia that are booked in with the drugs. Interesting that one change in the law could change your inventory levels. Keep an eye open for these Events and Trends.

Oregon Decriminalizes Small Amounts of Heroin and Cocaine; Four States Legalize Marijuana
November, 4, 2020

OAKLAND, Calif. — The march to decriminalize drugs moved further across the nation on Tuesday despite continued federal prohibition.

Oregon became the first state to decriminalize small amounts of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and other drugs. And in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona, voters decisively passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana. Cannabis is now legal across a large bloc of states in the West — from Washington down to the Mexican border — and well beyond.

Cannabis was also on the ballot in Mississippi. If all of the marijuana measures pass, marijuana will be legal for medical use in three dozen states and recreational use will be allowed in 15.

The Oregon measure makes possession of small amounts of what have long been considered harder drugs a violation, similar to a traffic ticket, and no longer punishable by jail time. The law also funds drug addiction treatment from marijuana sales taxes.

 “This is incredible,” said Kassandra Frederique, executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance. “This is like taking a sledgehammer to the cornerstone of the drug war.”

Possession of larger amounts could result in misdemeanor charges, and some cases that rise to what is considered a commercial level could still be charged as felonies.

Ms. Frederique said passage of the measure showed that voters were eager for a new approach on drug policy to handle it as a health issue and prioritize treatment. She said she expected other states to follow suit, mentioning efforts in states such as California, Vermont and Washington.
World Class Training in “Best-Practices” For Evidence & Property Room Management
We offers dozens of classes per year across the U.S. and Canada, taught by current and former law enforcement officials with extensive real-world experience in management of property and evidence. This two-day course is ideal for those responsible for, or actively involved in, the operation, supervision or management of a Property and Evidence Unit. All training topics address best business practices and professional standards.
2-Day Classes 2020
Hurst Texas

Supervisor Classes 2021
Daytona Beach, Florida
Salem, Oregon
Commerce City, Colorado
2-Day Classes 2021
Humble, Texas
Daytona, Florida
Las Vegas, Nevada
Salem, Oregon
Gilbert, Arizona
Commerce City, Colorado
Burbank, CA
Topeka, Kansas
Online training icon. Internet button on white background.
Need Training Right Now?
The Full online course class option is a great choice if you want much of the same training as the Live classes but without the travel and time away from the department. The IAPE Property and Evidence Management video Course is approximately 14 hours in length and was prepared by Law Enforcement Personnel for Law Enforcement Personnel. Completion of the course meets the training requirements for becoming a Certified Property and Evidence Specialist (CPES).
*Receive a FREE digital download of "Property and Evidence By The Book" 2nd Edition with paid Online Video registration.
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.
Become a 
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
The Property and Evidence By The Book 2nd Edition
Digital or Physical
Hurry and visit ShopIAPE.com for a limited time...
Be sure to ender code {CHEERS} at checkout to save!
Offer expires 12/31/20
Classic IAPE Color Changing Mug
Keeper of Krapola Unisex Jersey Short Sleeve Tee
IAPE Classic - Unisex Heavy Blend™ Hooded Sweatshirt