Law enforcement agencies must store extensive evidence, including biological materials and other substances requiring a climate-controlled storage environment. Proper refrigerated evidence storage of DNA, sexual assault kits, and other materials such as drugs and chemicals is essential to ensure this evidence is adequately preserved throughout the chain of custody and can be used to facilitate justice.
Specialized refrigerated evidence storage is available for each stage of the evidence acquisition and retention process. From temporary evidence lockers for evidence deposition to refrigerators and storage racks for processed evidence storage, refrigerated storage solutions ensure the preservation of biological evidence throughout the chain of custody. (Check out all of our public safety storage solutions here.)
Read on to learn about the following three types of refrigerated evidence storage:
Temporary refrigerated evidence lockers store biological evidence waiting to be processed. Officers can deposit evidence into the locker anytime to ensure secure storage until authorized technicians retrieve it. Refrigerated lockers ensure that biological evidence remains well-preserved during this storage period.
The refrigerated evidence lockers maintain a constant temperature of 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit. An air circulating fan ensures that the temperature is consistent throughout the locker. The refrigerated lockers are equipped with a digital alarm to alert personnel of temperature fluctuations—if the door is left open, for example—to ensure the proper preservation of stored evidence.
Security of the stored evidence is also a priority. The refrigerated evidence lockers are constructed with a stainless steel double-wall interior and magnetic seals on the front and rear doors. A full-size refrigerated evidence locker contains anywhere from 4 to 24 lockable compartments to accommodate items of various sizes. Controlling access to stored evidence is through a push-button, keyless lock system.
The refrigerated evidence lockers are available in pass-through or non-pass-through configurations and have many of the same features and capabilities as standard evidence lockers. Refrigerated lockers can be freestanding or integrated into a nonrefrigerated evidence locker system. See specifications for stainless half-height and full-height refrigerated lockers.
Once the biological evidence is retrieved, technicians need an appropriate way to store it during processing. Evidence storage refrigerators are an ideal solution for safely housing biological evidence and other sensitive materials within the property and evidence room.
Police evidence refrigerators feature sophisticated, cutting-edge technology to ensure that biological evidence is stored securely at an appropriate temperature. A digital microprocessor temperature controller provides precise temperature management; personnel can adjust the operating temperature between 34 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the stored samples. Forced draft air circulation ensures temperature uniformity in the refrigerator and quick recovery after opening the door. Like the refrigerated evidence lockers, the refrigerators are equipped with audible and visual alarms to alert personnel if the temperature becomes too high or low.
Police evidence refrigerators come in dimensions ranging in capacity from 12 to 72 cubic feet. They include many other features, including:
Glass or solid doors
Shelves adjustable on ½-inch increments
Keyed door lock for security
Magnetic door gasket for positive seal
Heavy-duty door handle
Safety-shielded LED interior lights
Environmentally friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants
Evidence Storage Racks for Refrigerated Rooms
Once the evidence is processed, it goes into long-term storage for retention, perhaps indefinitely. Biological and other temperature-sensitive evidence are often kept in refrigerated rooms or walk-in freezers for long-term climate-controlled storage. Because storage capacity in these environments is limited, storing such evidence in space-efficient shelving is essential.
While refrigerated storage rooms are typically populated with static steel or wire shelving, opting for a high-density refrigerated storage system allows you to make the most of your temperature-controlled storage space. New or existing storage racks mount on movable carriages that slide on floor tracks, compacting together to convert static aisles into storage space. One or two movable aisles remain to allow authorized personnel to access stored items as needed.
Because the high-density storage racks convert static aisle space into additional storage, they can effectively double the storage capacity within your refrigerator or freezer facility, which also allows you to save on energy costs. High-density storage systems support a variety of configurations to best store your biological evidence. You can watch a video on refrigerated high-density storage here.
Contact Us for Refrigerated Evidence Storage
Southwest Solutions Group® provides design and installation services for refrigerated evidence storage solutions. We will also provide a free consultation to determine your exact needs and specifications before the design process begins. To learn more or to speak with a specialist, call us at (800) 803-1083 or send us a message today.
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