Without properly stored evidence, most legal cases cannot be prosecuted. Whether a suspect is behind bars or the investigation is just beginning, properly storing the evidence can mean the difference between nabbing the guilty party and seeing a guilty individual go free on a technicality. As law enforcement entities consider their evidence storage needs, understanding the reasons why proper evidence storage is so vital is important.
Protection from Hazards
Some types of evidence, such as weapons, present a hazard to those responsible to package and store them. Properly storing these items can prevent accidents, such as the accidental discharge of a firearm or injury from a sharp object. Some items, such as wet plant material or biohazards, represent a health risk. Proper storage can limit exposure to these risk factors and ensure that those who work near the items suffer no ill effects.
Protection of Evidence from Damage
If evidence is not properly stored, it can be damaged. Sometimes, sensitive items face the danger of contamination. For example, a blood sample, if exposed to the wrong chemicals, can be contaminated, ruining DNA evidence and making the sample worthless. Without proper storage facilities, evidence can also be damaged simply by the air or moisture in the room where it is being stored.
Sometimes, biological evidence has special storage needs. In these instances, temperature fluctuations can permanently damage crucial evidence. That’s why we provide refrigerated evidence lockers designed to prevent deterioration and maintain a consistent temperature of 38 – 42 degrees Fahrenheit, which offers the same security, and performance of our standard evidence lockers.
Protection from Intentional Damage
Another risk when storing evidence is the risk that someone will damage the evidence to prevent its use and protect the guilty individual. For this reason, evidence storage solutions not only need to protect the evidence from the elements and contamination but also must be highly secure. Patterson Pope’s evidence storage lockers and drying cabinets are designed with the highest level of security, so the chain of custody of the evidence is never interrupted.
Ability to Dry Evidence for Preservation
Evidence, especially biological evidence, must be properly dried in order to be preserved until it is needed. Evidence drying cabinets provide a secure place to store this evidence while they are allowed to air dry. With proper ventilation, these systems help avoid contamination while allowing for proper air drying of the evidence. Evidence drying cabinets from Patterson Pope help keep biological evidence protected as it dries for future use.
Properly Identifying Evidence
A final component of a quality evidence storage system is the ability to properly identify evidence. Evidence must be carefully organized in order to avoid confusion when different pieces of evidence are stored with one another. Also, evidence needs to be categorized so details about it, such as where it was collected or who collected it, are not lost. An organized system ensures that the proper piece of evidence is always presented and that the details about the evidence are kept with it.
No matter what type of evidence you are trying to store, Patterson Pope has the storage solutions you need to keep it protected, organized and preserved. Contact us today to discuss your evidence storage needs.