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The importance of random evidence inventory

In a previous blog post, Evidence Room Inventory Procedures, we talked about inventory procedures and why it is so important to have processes in place to constantly check and double-check your work.  Let’s talk now about random inventories, or audits, and how they reinforce the integrity you’ve built in to your evidence room.

In Memory of Officer Larry Lasater

Officer Larry Lasater was a US Marine Corps veteran, a commissioned officer, attaining the rank of Captain, working as a Tank Officer. He then joined Pittsburg Police Department, and once he entered academy, he maintained a level of readiness that can only be described as that of a Marine.

Evidence chain of custody

“There is nothing like first-hand evidence.” So said Sherlock Holmes in, A Study in Scarlet, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Although a fictional character, his statement was true. There is nothing as advantageous to the building of a case as hard evidence.

Crime scene evidence management

Managing evidence at a crime scene begins when the first responding officers arrive on scene. We can define a “crime scene” as any location where evidence relating to a specific incident, would reasonably be expected to be found whether before, during or after the crime. As radio dispatchers broadcast information about a reported incident, officers begin communicating and formulating an action plan. They are listening for information about suspects and vehicle descriptions, in addition to the last known direction of travel.

Digital evidence management in 2015

The advent of digital cameras, digital video cameras, and digital data in general has been a huge leap forward to the Law Enforcement community. It allows us to have everything immediately available for viewing for ourselves and for the investigators. However, many of us have not done a great job of managing this type of evidence. We all know that we must treat physical evidence in a manner that maintains a proper chain of custody, or audit trail, so that we have the complete history of the item to know where it has been and who has had access to it.

In Memory of Officer Joseph Haydu

Office Joseph Haydu, a brave ten-year veteran of the Cleveland Police Department teaches us a lesson to never stop fighting. It’s true that you may lose. But you will always lose if you hesitate.

Evidence room inventory procedures

Most modern evidence rooms probably already have in place a system by which items are inventoried, or audited, on a regular basis.  If yours doesn’t, it most definitely should.

Regularly scheduled inventories, as well as random audits, play an important part in maintaining the integrity of your entire “process”.  How and when those inventories are conducted are up to you and your agency policies, but it is very important that you do them, for several reasons.

How do I organize the evidence room? Where do I start?


If you’ve been around evidence rooms for any length of time, you’ve probably seen some really good ones and some really bad ones, with most falling somewhere in between. If yours is somewhere on the bottom of the scale, we have some suggestions to help you get organized.

First of all, please understand that knowing that YOU can locate items easily isn’t necessarily the standard by which you should evaluate your evidence room. If you were to become unavailable for some reason and the Chief had to locate an important item for court, could he? Could anyone BUT you find it?

Why evidence management software? The old way still works!

Often, when talking to department heads at small or mid-size law enforcement agencies about their evidence room and whether or not they might benefit from evidence management software, we hear “the old way still works”.  But does it?  Really?  I can’t help but wonder if the department head really understands the day to day operations in the evidence room, or if he or she thinks that the “old way still works” simply because they aren’t hearing any complaints.

In Memory of Chief Robert Smith

Chief Robert Lynn Smith had served a total of 16 years in law enforcement, along with 23 years in the US Army. He was also well known in emergency management circles throughout the region.