Having an Organized Property and Evidence Room
July 18, 2019
Having managed a property and evidence room for four years, I can speak from experience how much organization makes a difference. The best way to become organized is to have a superior evidence management system.
When I managed the property room, I was forced to use the pen/paper system in the beginning. This caused the organization to be chaotic as the Officers were writing different things on their own property cards. Some were being detailed while others were just putting the minimum they thought was needed. The problem was, they were not the ones who were managing the property once it was put in the temporary lockers. With the pen/paper system, I was having to do double the work because I was having to track the officers down to collect further information on the evidence. There were a lot of errors being made on the property cards. These errors consisted of misspelling items, incorrect case numbers, incorrect details on the actual evidence, etc. It was very hard to manage each piece of evidence the way it should be so that the chain of custody could hold up in court.
The department then thought we should use an evidence module of the RMS (Records Management System) that was being used. They figured since they were already paying for the RMS system and since it had an evidence module, why not use it. The problem I found was it did not collect enough information needed to properly manage the evidence. It was great for records, but insufficient for managing property and evidence. It would basically tell me what property is with a case and where it may be found in the property room. There was no way to customize the system so I could collect further information needed for reports and such.
We went back to pen/paper because I could at least write the additional information needed on the property cards and we were still utilizing the cards even though we were also using the evidence module.
The department finally decided to overhaul the property room and purchase an evidence management system. This is when my life as the evidence tech got so much better! I was able to manage the property and have a solid chain of custody and know exactly what was going on with each case. Utilizing a great evidence management system allowed me to do away with certain reports. I was doing monthly reports on guns, drugs, and money. With SAFE (Tracker Product’s evidence management system), I was able to help the Chief and Captains customize their personal dashboards so they had these figures in real-time every day.
My property room was very well organized with the barcode system. I knew where each piece of property was and was able to retrieve said property in record time. No more handwriting when the property was checked in, checked out, transferred, taken to court, etc. It was all done in SAFE. Being able to do inventories quickly was definitely a bonus! This saved time and money.
If you are an evidence tech, take it from me, having a proper evidence management system can make all of the difference!
About the author Kristee Ulerick: As Director of Business Development, Kristee leveraged her previous experience as a Certified Property Evidence Specialist to become a top sales representative at Tracker Products. Learn more about Kristee and why she has such a passion for Evidence Tracking!