UPDATED: A Vital Part of All Criminal Investigations From Beginning to End: Evidence!

Evidence is the most critical part when a criminal is being prosecuted. A person who has committed a crime can potentially walk free due to a lack of evidence. Lost or tampered evidence can also alter a trial. The way physical and biological evidence is handled is extremely different. This is because physical evidence can easily be noticed and taken back to a lab, but biological evidence that includes DNA needs to be delicately handled. 

The National Institute of Justice states that any evidence should not be in direct sunlight and warmer conditions due to the ability to degrade any DNA. 

HOW LONG IS EVIDENCE STORED FOR?  

The answer is dependent upon the current case and trial that is currently taking place. 

It is common for a department to hold onto items for over 40 years. Often times, this evidence is stored off-site to free up space in the current area.

There are different types of cases in the justice system and they are:

  • Open Case means there is no suspect/s but police are still searching for one.

  • Charges Filed case means that someone is in custody and they have been charged with the crime. There will be a trial that follows after.

  • Adjudicated case is when there has been a conviction, the dismissal, or an acquittal of the case. This is often times due to lack of evidence or the jury finds the defendant not guilty.

  • Unfounded, Refused, Denied or No Further Investigation. A suspect was never found or there was a lack of evidence to charge the leading suspect in the case.

An open case is held until it closes; however, if it deals with homicide, the evidence will be retained indefinitely. When it comes to sexual offenses, kidnapping, robbery and etc. the evidence will be held as long as the suspect is in custody, once they are released, the evidence will get disposed.

The proper evidence storage can help to eliminate issues with state-of-the-art technology from temperature controlled units to a smart lock on the storage units to protect said evidence and properly store it in the right conditions until lab technicians are able to process it. 

Midwest Storage Solutions, Inc. provides police departments and evidence labs with five different types of evidence locker and evidence storage units:

  • Pass-Thru Evidence Lockers: Pass-thru evidence lockers provide law enforcement agencies a place to deposit evidence securely without the worry of misplaced keys and items. The officer brings the evidence to the evidence locker, enters their pin code then shuts the cubby door behind them. This cubby locks once it is shut. The only personnel who can open this is the officer and lab technician. For biological evidence, a tube drop can be installed into any lockers. 

  • Refrigerated Evidence Lockers: A refrigerated evidence locker provides biological evidence to be properly stored in temperatures of 32 to 42 degrees fahrenheit to preserve all evidence inside of the evidence locker. 

  • ControLoc Evidence Tracking Technology: Not all evidence will be held for long periods and can be disposed of quickly. When this is the notion, this evidence needs to be tracked just like a supply chain management system. 

  • LevPRO:  LevPRO is the most versatile unit on the market. This cost-effective storage solution allows for smaller law enforcement agencies and evidence rooms to install proper storage units in a smaller space. This unit is a suspended shelving unit which means items can be stored underneath the unit and easily move side to side. 

The proper evidence locker or storage unit can help to decrease lost or destroyed evidence in the process of convicting a criminal. Please contact us today for these storage solutions and others. 

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