I would like to get a survey of the agencies that utilize temporary storage lockers.
Would like to know how they are utilized and the Department’s policy.
Are the Property Custodians satisfied with the function?
Our Department (mainly Officers) are asking about having a temporary storage locker in which to place property in until such time they can come back and process the items. When we moved to the new PD we eliminated the temporary storage lockers due to lost keys, items left in lockers for an extensive period of time or were never claimed, and chain of custody issues. Items now are stored in the standard lockers (if the Officers are unable to complete the impound process) and they will make an appointment with me to collect their items for that case and then complete the impound process. Thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time,
Jason M. – El Mirage PD
We had them for awhile at YPD but they were removed, due to abuses by the officers. They had clear, lexan doors so the property inside was easily viewable (for supervisors) and the officer was supposed to place the date and case number and name on the door in grease pencil. There were supposed to be used for a max of 24 hours, but officers would go on days off without emptying the locker. The Commanders had them taken out.
In Glendale we don’t allow any temporary lockers either. If something has to be finished the next day, it goes into a regular one way locker with a note and can be checked out then to finish.
A. It is the policy of the Glendale Police Department to enter evidence into the
Property Tracking System as soon after seizure as possible. Property is not to be
secured in personal lockers, files or desks. A piece of property/evidence in a case
must be processed through the property tracking system and then checked
out/signed out from Property Room – no exceptions.
B. Property/evidence logged into the Property Tracking System is to be placed in the
“one way” lockers provided for this purpose, prior to shift’s end. This will allow
the property to be officially inventoried and recorded in the agency’s records in a
timely manner. The agency may authorize exception to these procedures;
however, supervisory approval should be obtained and a descriptive inventory
should be accomplished verbally or through other electronic means if distance is a
I have a few of our regular impound lockers (we have bus station lockers, not slam lockers, so that makes it easy for the Officers to hold onto the key) dedicated for temporary storage. I have written into policy that items may be left for 24 hours (or if they’re going on days off, until the end of their first shift after returning to duty). I have a master key to these lockers, and after 24 hours, items that are still left will be removed from the lockers and disposed of. (Note: I’ve never actually done this – but I have the recourse to do so if it were to become necessary.) If an Officer needs to leave items for a longer time, they must write a memo (or email) with the details of why they need longer (so later when I get questioned by a defense attorney, I can refer to the memo and not look like an idiot for not remembering what the deal was). I then attach the memo to the item’s paperwork when it is finally submitted and it stays there. I also note it in the records management system and put a copy of the memo in the case file (I’m a little OCD, I guess…). Basically, it’s enough of a pain for Officers that they seldom utilize the temp. lockers and get stuff done during the same shift. What usually happens when they can’t is that I get asked to process or at least to help them process the evidence. I actually kind of prefer that, especially for bigger cases, because I know it’s done right. Yeah, that’d be my OCD again, I guess, but we’re a small agency and I can usually find the time to do it. For bigger agencies, that’s probably not really an option.
We have a few temporary lockers in the detective offices. They are required to sign a log sheet for chain of custody and are allowed a maximum of 72 hours. The supervisors have been pretty good at policing this. They are used for temporary storage of items from a warrant; items signed out from P&E for investigation or for court early the next morning.
We also have a few at the SWFAC (SouthWest Family Advocacy Center) for SVU detectives to use in the same way.
Policies require patrol (and in most instances – detectives) to impound all items prior to leaving for the day.
We also have our drying lockers for temporary storage of wet, bio items. There is a sign in log for this and a 48 follow time.
We also allow (rarely used) officers to submit items to the lockers with a note on the back (P&E) side explaining the issue and when it will be addressed. They are also supposed to follow up with an e-mail.
This has been working for us. It is not perfect, but does address an issue that was raised.
We have temp lockers at Tempe P.D. ; however P&E is not responsible for them. The are regulated by the Admin Sgt. The temp lockers have a sign in sheet where the report number, officer, date, time, locker #, and Sgt who approved the temp use is to be listed. They also have a place to slip in a business card. The lockers have a clear window to view the items. The lockers have unique keys with a very large tab on the end (maybe the size of a 3×5 card cut in half). The restrictions are – items in a temp locker must be “evidence” items only – NO safekeeping. Time limits – typically 24 hours, but they are often used for up to 3 days- if the day the items were placed inside was the Officer’s “friday”. Prior to moving into our new building years ago, we insisited that temp lockers be handled by a sworn Sgt., so we didn’t have to deal with all the headaches that typically arise with them (as several agencies have noted in previous postings). Our temp lockers actually have been working very well for the last 8 years. Hope this is helpful to you!
Sierra Vista does not have a temporary locker set-up, if the officers are working on impounding evidence/property and have to stop, he/she lock their items in our regular evidence lockers and upon their return, he/she request to retrieve their items through the evidence room and complete their impound. I believe we used to have a temp locker set-up before my time, but that was done away with before I started. The way we are doing it now seems to work and we have not had any issues. If an officer puts evidence/property in a locker after hours or on a weekend, they will usually leave a note indicating they need to finish the process and their items will be left until they return to retrieve them. Hopefully this helps.
At Peoria PD, we have a vault where Detectives can keep items of evidence until the next shift to finish packaging and entering the items. The Vault is for Detectives only and has a key that they impound under the case number as a Safe Keeping item that they can then come and check out. This gives them a chain of custody on the items. The department also has a policy in place that detectives can place large items in the Drying Room or the vehicle cage until the next shift and then package the items. They impound the key in the same way as the vault. These are the only acceptable locations for the Detectives to use for temporary storage.
We have keyed lockers at all of our evidence submission stations. They are not necessarily intended for temporary storage but some are used that way. We monitor if they are being used. If the keys are outstanding for more than a week, we open the lockers with our master keys and if there is documentation on the items inside then we contact the district coordinator (usually a Sgt.) and we give them the DR# and officer’s name. This is usually all it takes to get the items finished and properly submitted. Of course there have been instances when keys have been lost or the items inside do not have any documentation on them to assist us in identifying the DR# or officer. In these cases we have policy that allows us to pull the items, and have the items submitted as found (I will send an all personnel e-mail out first and give members a week to respond and then after a week, the found property case is opened).
Feel free to send me an e-mail and I can provide you with our policy for dealing with these issues. Good luck!
Our officers use the regular lockers and on the log write ‘temporary storage’. A supervisor must initial next to it. When the officer comes to take the items out, he signs as the ‘receiving’ person on the log, and once it it packaged and impounded properly etc. it is put on the log.
We allow a 72 hour temporary storage, after that the Sergeant is notified. If it is still outstanding then we go up the chain until it is resolved. The supervisor initial has really cut down on the repeat offenders. We had one officer who used temporary storage about 50% of the time. 🙂
I thought I responded before but it doesn’t look like I did. Hope this is not too late. We do not use this concept in Gilbert because our general orders state the officers must impound all evidence by the end of their shift. This just eliminates the temptation to impound their property or evidence ‘later’.