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Evidence and Auto Disposition: What it is, Why it’s important, and How it’s done!

June 13, 2019

Undoubtedly, the single greatest problem most Evidence Managers have is … disposition. Many departments have had to acquire new buildings and exterior storage units to deal with the pile-up. Property rooms all over the country are bursting at the seams with evidence and the documentation that accompanies it. With dwindling budgets and limited resources, Evidence Technicians need real solutions to this problem; and they need them now.

What Is Effective Evidence Disposition

Evidence Management Auto Disposition_1

An effective disposition system ensures that agencies dispose of at least as much evidence as they bring in on an annual basis. The optimal rate of evidence disposition for sustainable evidence management is indexed to the equivalent rate of evidence intake. Ideally, evidence management operations should dispose of evidence items at a 1:1 ratio to intake items annually.


Disposition rates lower than 0.75:1 (disposal to intake) ratios can create long-term systematic storage and sustainability issues for evidence management operations. Simply put, the end result is… a disaster waiting to happen.

Auto Disposition: Why it’s important and How it’s done

By automating the process, Evidence Managers don’t have to manually rifle through a mountain of paperwork to check the item’s history. State-of-the-art software sends the submitting officer a retention review request to approve the disposal of the item, if appropriate, or request to keep the item for a specified period of time before the next review. Here’s how it works with Tracker Products…

1. Every case entered into the system is automatically assigned a follow-up date (legacy cases already in the system will have to be assigned a review date as part of the startup process).
2. When the Review Date = today, the system will automatically generate a Task and assign it to the Case Officer (also known as a Task Assignee) to review the Case and all Items associated with it.
3. Task Assignee will review the Task and Case and supply a response (A and B below)
a. The Task Assignee says that you can’t dispose of items and you change the review date to a date further in the future
b. The Task Assignee says you can dispose of items
i. If you only need permission from Task Assignee to dispose of evidence, then proceed to Step 4.
ii. If you need further permissions to dispose of evidence, then you edit the Task and assign to the new user.
4. Item(s) that have been approved for disposition will need to be tagged.
5. When it comes time to do a disposition, you are going to search for a list of items based on a Tag and export that list to Microsoft Excel.
6. Collect all approved Items from storage locations.
7. Dispose of, or return, Items, and mark disposed in the system.

***Usually items of property are maintained until they can be returned to the rightful owner. Property may be released by appointment, with proper identification.

This is the first post in a series on the topic of Auto Disposition.

Second Post: Adopting the Auto-Disposition Mind-Set

Third Post: Tackling Evidence Accumulation Challenges With Auto Disposition

Our SAFE evidence tracking software is more than just barcodes and inventory control, it’s an end-to-end chain of custody software for physical and digital evidence, resolving each of the critical issues facing evidence management.

To learn more about Tracker Products, CLICK HERE.

Or, if you’re interested in Evidence Management Training Classes, VISIT EMI HERE.