Evidence Storage

pass thru evidence storage police lockersIf you’re thinking about building new, modernizing, or retrofitting storage areas for evidence storage to secure the chain of custody, property room lockers are the way to go. Because their designs offer a secure chain of custody, evidence storage lockers are an excellent temporary storage solution. After every piece of evidence goes through processing, it remains secure until authorized personal retrieves it. Law enforcement facilities need sturdy evidence lockers with secure access. That way, they can securely pass evidence from a non-secured area to one with security while simultaneously maintaining the chain of custody. It’s critical to have an unbroken chain of custody when investigating a case.

Understanding Evidence Storage

Evidence storage is a dedicated area within a facility that exists for the sole purpose of warehousing biological evidence and other evidentiary items. Every evidence locker must feature construction fabrication that defeats unauthorized or forced entry. Its design must ensure that the contents of the locker survive any environmental event. Because evidence can arrive at a law enforcement facility anytime, day or night, a temporary storage solution is a priority until a property room employee removes it for further processing. Evidence storage must provide secure access to authorized personnel and guarantee the stored items’ integrity and security. The number one priority for every law enforcement agency is to maintain a well-documented chain of custody. That way, they can track evidence from the moment investigators bag it to the time an authorized person needs to retrieve or destroy it. Access to these storage areas should have rigorous controls and provide secure access only to authorized personnel.

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Evidence lockers feature designs specifically for:
  • Easy retrieval with enhanced security
  • Creating a logging system for all accessors
  • Creating secure access solutions for authorized personnel
  • Developing auditing methodology that guarantees the accuracy and completeness of all maintained information
  • Maintaining the chain of custody
  • Providing a dedicated storage space to secure evidence

Why Facilities Should Use Evidence Storage

non pass thru evidence storage lockersLosing or misplacing pieces of evidence is a departmental issue, but it extends further than that. These issues can also become a PR crisis. There are also extreme situations when losing or misplacing evidence can cause departments to lose community support or grant money opportunities. There are also questions from opposing counsel regarding the handling of evidence. The integrity of evidence from every investigation is crucial to the case. Complying with adequate evidence and property control measures is critical to ensuring smooth practices within our legal system. Evidence storage lockers feature specific designs that provide secure access to maintain the chain of custody during critical short-term storage timeframes. That timeframe starts with the time evidence leaves the law enforcement agent’s hands and ends when an evidence technician logs and stores it in the evidence or property room. These locker systems serve as an air-tight, secure, and unattended evidence drop-off area. Law enforcement officials can deposit evidence securely day or night without dealing with combinations or keys. These systems also mean that investigators don’t have to call or depend on an evidence technician to help after hours. Managing evidence involves following best practices:
  • Detailed documentation: Use in-take checklists and other documentation when law enforcement agents deposit evidence into the lockers
  • Automation: Smart options allow centralized logging to occur that automates when evidence drop-off and retrievals occur.
  • Accountability: Set up secure access controls to maintain the chain of custody while simultaneously holding authorized personnel accountable.
  • Evidence integrity: Maintaining the integrity of sensitive items, including biological materials, is critical. Choose evidence storage lockers with proper temperature controls and ventilation.
Our legal system’s practice of maintaining the chain of custody allows state officials to verify forensic evidence’s authenticity. It also proves that alterations or damages haven’t occurred to this evidence while in law enforcement’s custody. That information is critical for preventing disruptions in a case.

How Property Room Lockers Improve Efficiency

Law enforcement agencies of all sizes have similar challenges, including storage and its efficiency. These agencies have a significant amount of equipment, evidence, and property, but they don’t have enough space. Law enforcement officials receive training on fighting crime, not how to think of creative ways to make storage more efficient. That doesn’t mean facilities don’t need these solutions. They need additional space for long-term storage—enough for adding more evidence and space for processing. These facilities also need to improve efficiencies for securing their narcotics and weapons evidence. pass-thru lockers inside long term evidence roomUpdating short-term evidence lockers improve efficiency by accommodating various evidence sizes while simultaneously maintaining the chain of custody. There are two different types of evidence lockers, each with benefits that help improve a law enforcement agency’s efficiency.

Pass-thru evidence locker

Pass-through evidence lockers install directly into the wall between the facility’s evidence drop-off area and the property room storage area. Investigators and officers deposit evidence in the drop-off area. Then, an evidence technician retrieves it from the other side. There’s a full-size door on the property room side, allowing technicians to retrieve items and reset the door on the drop-off area’s side.

Non-pass-thru evidence locker

Non-pass-through evidence lockers also install directly into a wall and provide secure access, but they don’t open into a separate room. Instead, law enforcement officials and evidence technicians use the same door to store and retrieve items.

Benefits and Features of Evidence Storage

All types of courtroom and police evidence receive advanced protection from heavy-duty evidence storage lockers. They’re ideal for short-term evidence storage and transferring items from non-secure areas to a property storage room.police evidence storage locker systems

Additional benefits include:

  • After-hours storage and retrieval
  • Help secure the chain of custody.
  • Keyless push-button access
  • Optimize efficiency
  • Pass-thru, non-pass-thru, and refrigerated options available
Evidence storage lockers provide facilities with exceptional protection and security. These security options are ideal for correctional facilities, courtroom systems, crime labs, fire departments, and law enforcement agencies. Having a secure system for storing evidence prevents unauthorized handling and mismanagement of items.

Additional features include:

  • Doors with full-length piano hinges
  • Multi-point deadbolt
  • Powder-coated finish
  • Welded steel construction

How Property Room Lockers Benefit the Military

People living on base depend on housing, nutrition, medical services, and more. These individuals also depend on the military police to keep them safe and secure. Property room storage options help military bases create highly functional and secure areas within the military base’s confines. It’s the military police and security force’s responsibility to provide top-notch security at all times. Their jobs don’t end with securing the premises and ensuring the safety of all military personnel. It extends to the critical nature of securing evidence storage and managing those items. Their job involves providing immediate access to gear and weapons storage while simultaneously safeguarding confiscated evidence until every case progresses through the judicial system. Property room lockers benefit the military by providing:
  • Full audit trails for every item
  • Restricted access to sensitive items
  • Asset monitoring and tracking
  • Improvements to and maintenance of the chain of custody
  • Accommodations for a wide variety of equipment

Technical Specifications and Design

As law enforcement officials continue collecting evidence daily, so is the need for better-designed material handling systems. It isn’t uncommon for agencies to use in-house engineering teams for evidence storage solutions. Architects and designers provide innovative evidence storage solutions to law enforcement officials, military personnel, and more.

General Technical Specifications:

  • Adjustable shelves
  • All-welded construction
  • Optional fume exhaust fittings
  • Ventilation

Secure Access Evidence Storage Solutions

Many facilities, including law enforcement and the military, need secure access evidence storage solutions. Implementation of evidence storage lockers helps reduce or eliminate issues with mismanagement of evidence. The technical specifications for each property room storage solution vary by height, storage capacity, weight, and more. Here are two examples: secure evidence storage cabinetModel: Drug Storage Locker: #SMS-61-FC482484DSVE
  • Base construction: 12-gauge steel with leveling feet
  • Construction: All-welded 18-gauge steel construction for backs, bottoms, doors, sides, and tops
  • Dimensions: Lockers are 48″ Wide x 24″ Deep x 84″ High
  • Finish: Solvent-free powder-coated finish
  • Opening: Includes six adjustable perforated shelves
  • Venting: Two air vents in the bottom of the doors, one in each door
  • Weight: 495 pounds
Model: Vented Property and Evidence Storage Cabinet: #SMS-37-2480DSE
  • Construction: All-welded steel fabrication
  • Dimensions: Cabinets are 2′ Wide x 2’7″ Deep x 6’8″ High
  • Doors: Perforated tamper-proof hinged doors that are inaccessible from outside the cabinet
  • Security: Locking storage cabinets
  • Shelves: Adjustable on one-inch increments, each holding up to 50 pounds
  • Warranty: Five-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
  • Weight: 290 pounds
When law enforcement facilities have expert designers on staff, it’s possible to integrate evidence storage systems into existing building designs. Implementing these storage systems into law enforcement agencies involves several architectural and design phases.

Architectural and design phases:

  1. Thorough site evaluation and spec creationsee revit drawings and specifications for evidence lockers
  2. CAD drawings
  3. Presentation of plans
  4. Project integration within the facility’s existing footprint
  5. Installation of evidence and property room storage solutions

Chain of Custody Solutions for Evidence Storage

Southwest Solutions provides innovative evidence storage design and installation solutions. Reach out to one of our design team members by calling 1-800-803-1083 or send us a message. They’ll walk you through which storage solution is best for your property room storage.




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