Most police departments have an evidence room or large evidence storage facility. Keeping these rooms well maintained and orderly is not only integral to the internal operations of the police department but also helps to ensure proper chain of custody.
Over time many departments find that their evidence rooms have become crowded, cluttered, and disorganized. Stacks of evidence that should have been purged in years past are collecting dust while occupying space that more recently collected evidence could be utilizing. The result is disorganization and lack of efficiency that, if severe enough, can even jeopardize chain of custody for critical evidence.
Use Technology That Integrates a Barcoding System
The old days of using a paper filing system for evidence are no more, and using a software system is one of the most essential keys for modernizing your police evidence room. These systems cannot only help you manage digital evidence, but they also integrate evidence barcoding systems that make it easy to retrieve, track, and purge evidence. An evidence barcode system also makes it easier to adhere to consistent labeling practices as necessary for effective police evidence management.
Maintain Sufficient and Properly Trained Staff
It’s important to make sure your evidence and property rooms are adequately resourced and not understaffed. Having enough staffing helps to ensure the integrity of chain-of-custody, the safe preservation of property and evidence, and the timely disposition of property and evidence. Property and evidence room staff may be comprised of sworn officers and civilians, and specialized training should be provided. Maintaining consistency in your property room staff is essential, as less turnover reduces the number of individuals in a chain of custody.
Realize That Change Can Be Good
Every police department should realize that there’s always room for improvement. When trying to modernize your department’s approach to police evidence management, conduct unannounced inspections, internal reviews, peer reviews, or external audits to help identify any weaknesses in the current systems in place. It may be time to update your existing policies and procedural manual to reflect changes in law or protocol.
PMI Evidence Tracker for Proper Evidence Management
The PMI Evidence Tracker is a customizable software system that helps law enforcement and legal professionals track physical and digital evidence. Law enforcement professionals across the country have trusted our software to ensure efficient, organized, and streamlined evidence retrieval, asset tracking, and chain of custody. With the PMI Evidence Tracker evidence barcode system, users can print evidence or shelf labels directly from the program. Our evidence barcode system features polysynthetic labels, which give you the durability you need for long-term storage in adverse conditions. These proprietary labels allow all evidence to be imputed as soon as it is found, and a unique identification number or bar code is assigned to each piece of evidence—making the retrieval process easier and more efficient than ever. Contact us today.