IAPE Monthly Newsletter & Updates
September 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 have stinky stuff in my property room and need help!!!!
Officers continuously arrest homeless people that have a incredible amount of personal property such as clothing, food, backpacks, skateboards, etc. Unfortunately, our jail won’t take the items and we end up with items. There is not easy way to store and the odors are contaminating the entire room. In some cases, the items are infested with creepy things. Other than the insects and smelly items that perinates the room, I’m at a loss on what to do with it. Any Thoughts?

Randy Buggsmore
Dear Randy,
Don’t feel alone, the problem is not uncommon. As I visit property rooms across the country, I’m always looking for creative solutions to our problems. The absolute most innovative solution that I have seen in dealing with this type of property you are describing, is used by the San Diego Police Department. The very nature of the great weather in San Diego creates an environment where the homeless may migrate and in some case arrests are made with their collection of their belongings that become Property for Safekeeping.

Solution: The Department has taken possession of dozens of residential trash containers as shown. Most likely they are obtaining them through their city rubbish collection department. When officers submit the belonging, they are generally in large plastic sealed bags. When received by the Property Room staff places the items in the illustrated barrel for long term (60 day) storage.

I’m going to take the idea one step further and have the barrels available for the officers who place the stinky stuff in a heavy-duty sealed plastic bags, with approved documentation included, and then place in the trash barrel, as described above, and secure with a padlock that can only be opened by Property Room staff when the owner claims. This may lessen the staff members need for handling this type of property.

California is one of a few states that has a Property for safekeeping statute(2080.10 California Civil Code) that governs the submission, storage and disposition of safekeeping. Within the code, if a Department provides the owner of the property with a prescribed receipt with specific directions, the Property Room may dispose of the items after 60 days if not claimed. 

The code requires the completion of the Property for Safekeeping receipt and given to the owner. If the receipt has been given to the owner at the time of arrest, there is no further notifications required. The law is specific that the item(s) may be disposed of after the 60 days if not claimed. If the department has followed the guidance of the statute, the owner cannot file a claim or lawsuit against the municipality. The only caveat to the entire section is if the owner of the property is incarcerated, they may communicate in writing to that Department requesting the property to be retained for one year. If you like this concept for your department’s use, you could try to include in department policy a municiple code change, county ordinance or inclusion in a state statute

As we all know, the longer we keep the smelly stuff, the smellier it may get! By following the guidance in this article maybe you can reduce the inventory and odors!.

Note: Smelly stuff (evidence) Always air dry, store in paper in a temperature control room.
Commentary. This will be a first in our monthly newsletter. I would like you to read the following news story from a small community in Texas. As you read, please give it a thumbs up or a thumbs down when you’re all done. This will also show that we all see things different and seeing it both ways is okay too.

Clifton PD returns U.S. Navy Captain's sword seized in 2008 as a result of an arrest
During the audit, numerous items of stored evidence were able to be disposed of or returned to the owner.
September 1, 2020
CLIFTON, TX — An audit of the Clifton Police Department evidence room lead to the return of a sword that was seized in 2008 as a result of an arrest.
The department says the audit was conducted recently. During the audit, numerous items of stored evidence were able to be disposed of or returned to the owner.
During the course of the audit, Investigator Megason came across a sword that had been seized in 2008 as a result of an arrest.
Investigator Megason and Officer Hamilton located a name, Henry Young McCown, engraved on the blade. Officer Hamilton, a member of the Masonic Lodge, recognized markings on the sword that related to the Mason heritage.
The officers continued to investigate the sword and its markings as well as a search of the name. The sword had been the property of Captain Henry Young McCown, USN, PNS#4 1945-1949.
The department was then able to find McCown's family.
On August 31, Investigator Megason and Officer Les Perry traveled to Austin to return the sword to the family. CPD says the family was grateful to receive the family heirloom back.
Thumbs Up! You read the article as a compassionate, considerate, empathic, and caring, individual who is impressed with the time, research and caring and dedicated officer to find the owner! I agree and two thumbs up!
Thumbs Down! You read the article and asked, why did it take the department of seven officers almost 14 years to find the item during an Audit?

Best practice and suggested by IAPE Standards – Audits, Inspections, and Inventories should be done annually and with personnel changes.
Free Webinar - Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM PDT
Over 400 agencies have already registered - You don't want to miss out!
NATIONAL WEBINAR - Environmental Storage Considerations for Forensic Evidence
The International Association for Property and Evidence Inc., in partnership with FileOnQ will be hosting a FREE live webinar, "Avoid Making the Headlines-Ensure Evidence Best Practices."
During every IAPE class, we always share current property and evidence scandals from around the country and discuss how a property rooms can be a tremendous liability for any law enforcement administrator. All too often, the consequences are demotions, terminations, prison and sometimes suicides.
Often at an IAPE class someone in class remarks, I sure wish my boss and or Chief or Sheriff realized the potential consequences and liabilities that are present in the property room. Most every news event we talk about could have been avoided with proper internal controls in place and management oversite.
  • In this one-hour webinar we ask that you join us and invite your boss and other top managers in the department to understand some of the complexities of the operation and how to avoid making the headlines. Additionally, with each shared news story we will explain what options are available to ensure best practices are adhered too. Find out how law enforcement has lost over $3,000,000 from property rooms since 2016, because best practices are not always being followed!
Helping Law Enforcement Reduce Risk, Avoid Adverse Consequences AND Achieve Evidence Excellence!
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
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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.
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