3-5 Property and Evidence Management
Policy Type: Local
Responsible Office: Chief of Police, Virginia Commonwealth University Police Department
Initial Policy Approved: 5/30/2014
Current Revision Approved: 12/15/2021
This policy establishes the procedures and responsibilities of handling property and evidence by VCUPD personnel. Specific guidelines have been put in place to ensure the safe handling and integrity of evidentiary and non-evidentiary property by VCUPD. The Property Office is responsible for managing all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property, inventories, fleet, supplies, uniforms, and equipment. Any and all property items seized by VCUPD officers that are deemed to have no evidentiary value shall be returned to the owner, without delay, generally within 72 hours. The return of property to its rightful owner is a department priority.
All employees are expected to fully comply with the guidelines and timelines set forth in this written directive. Failure to comply will result in appropriate corrective action. Responsibility rests with the division commander to ensure that any violations of policy are investigated and appropriate training, counseling and/or disciplinary action is initiated.
- EVIDENCE – Any evidentiary property that comes into the custody of a VCUPD employee, when such property may tend to prove or disprove the commission of a crime or the identity of a suspect, pursuant to an official criminal investigation. Evidentiary property will be disposed of within 6 months after all legal requirements have been satisfied. The disposal of such property must be accomplished in accordance § 19.2-58 of the Code of Virginia, and all other applicable Code sections, court orders, or appropriate department regulations.
- RECOVERED/FOUND PROPERTY – Any property of no evidentiary value, which comes into the custody of VCUPD, and whose rightful owner may, or may not, be known to the finder or to VCUPD. This includes property of no evidentiary value that is surrendered to a VCUPD employee for temporary custody with the understanding that the person surrendering the property has a legal right to do so, and that the property will be returned to the rightful owner at the end of a specified period of time, unless the owner requests that the department dispose of such property in a legally permissible manner. Due diligence shall be exercised with respect to determining the rightful owner. If the rightful owner cannot be determined, VCUPD shall dispose of the property in a manner prescribed by law. If the personal property remains unclaimed, the department will dispose of the held property in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Code of Virginia § 15.2-1719, usually after 60 days have elapsed.
- VCUPD-43 EVIDENCE AND PROPERTY RECORD FORM – Form submitted with all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property All evidentiary and non-evidentiary property will be itemized on the VCUPD-43, to include the owner’s information, if available. If numerous items are related to the same case, only one VCUPD-43 needs to be completed with itemization. The barcode number on the tamper-proof evidence/property bags will be documented on the VCUPD-43 in the section labeled “Barcode #.” The VCUPD-43 shall only be used in lieu of the Tracker System when the Tracker System is down for service or internet service is interrupted, with no exceptions.
- VCUPD-33A CASH COUNT FORM – Form submitted in tandem with a VCUPD-43 on all currency submissions and witnessed by two VCUPD officers. A copy is also to be attached to the evidence bag. The VCUPD-33A shall only be used in lieu of the Tracker System cash count section when Tracker is down for service or internet service is interrupted, with no exceptions. See also Written Directive 3-2 Fiscal Management, Asset Forfeiture section for more information.
- TRACKER SYSTEM EVIDENCE STATUS REVIEW – Form that is automatically emailed to the submitting officer every 120 days for a status update. Once this email is received, the officer will have 10 business days to update the status review in the Tracker System. The disposal dropdown menu will allow an officer to change the status at any time within the 120 day period. If at any time the classification of property changes, the reporting or investigating officer shall go to the disposal dropdown menu and change the status of the evidence, along with the status change date. This will help reduce the backlog of old property in the Tracker System.
- VCUPD-31 UNIFORM AND EQUIPMENT REQUEST FORM – Form submitted to the employee’s immediate supervisor for review and forwarded up the chain of command for final approval prior to issuance. VCUPD-31 forms will be tracked via the tracking sheet located on the Google drive.
- The Assistant Chief of Operations and the Director of Administration and Business Operations are responsible for the agency uniform contracts and fleet management. The Assistant Chief of Operations or their designee will oversee the Property and Evidence unit and is responsible for all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property inventory, records, procedures and inspections.
- The Property Office personnel are responsible for documenting and storing evidentiary and non-evidentiary property that is turned into the Property Office daily. Chain of custody and property and evidence resolution is the Property Office personnel’s highest priority.
- The Property Office personnel will maintain the agency fleet and evidentiary and non-evidentiary property inventories. The Property Manager will supervise the activities of the Property Technician.
- The Property Manager is also the department’s Fixed Asset Custodian.
Evidence and Property Packaging
- Drugs, drug paraphernalia, currency, and any property of value, such as jewelry, will be packaged in clear serialized tamper-proof evidence/property bags and entered into the Tracker System. All documentation must be filled out on the evidence bags by the submitting officer.
- Large items or unusual circumstances will be worked out on a case-by-case basis with the duty supervisor and the Property Manager.
- The tamper-proof bags have a voucher strip at the top with a perforated edge for easy removal. The voucher includes the bag’s corresponding barcode number. Officers will keep the voucher with their case files as their receipt to ensure the evidence bag is not changed or repackaged.
- All packages submitted to the Property Office will be sealed and initialed by the submitting officer.
- The Property Officer personnel reserves the “Right of Refusal” principle when dealing with improperly packaged items. Any deviations in packaging methods that do not meet Property Division standards, or any item not entered into the Tracker System will be refused by the Property Office personnel. The item will be secured by the Property Office personnel, and the submitting officer and their supervisor will be notified to correct the issue.
Evidentiary and Non-Evidentiary Property Submissions
- All evidentiary and non-evidentiary property will be processed and secured in a property locker as soon as possible after seizure.
- An IBR or Administrative report shall be completed to accompany all evidentiary property submissions.
- Without exception, all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property must be logged and delivered to the Property Office or secured in a property locker prior to the end of the officer’s tour.
- Evidentiary and non-evidentiary property will not be stored in personal lockers, files, desks, vehicles or any location other than a property locker.
- During business hours, evidentiary and non-evidentiary property may be turned into the Property Officer personnel in lieu of securing the property within a property locker.
- The Code of Virginia §19.2-270.1 allows the use of photographs as evidence in certain larceny and burglary prosecutions.
- Photographs of evidence can be used in cases concerning petty larceny, grand larceny, larceny of bank notes, shoplifting, and burglary.
- Photographs of the goods, merchandise, money or securities alleged to have been taken or converted shall be deemed competent evidence of such goods, merchandise, money or securities and shall be admissible in any proceeding, hearing or trial of the case to the same extent as if such goods, merchandise, money or securities had been introduced as evidence.
- Such photographs shall bear a written description of the goods, merchandise, money or securities alleged to have been taken or converted, the name of the owner of such goods, merchandise, money or securities and the manner of the identification of same by such owner, or the name of the place wherein the alleged offense occurred, the name of the accused, the name of the arresting or investigating police officer or conservator of the peace, the date of the photograph and the name of the photographer.
- Such writing shall be made under oath by the arresting or investigating police officer or conservator of the peace, and the photographs identified by the signature of the photographer.
- Upon the filing of such photograph and writing with the police authority or court holding such goods and merchandise as evidence, such goods or merchandise shall be returned to their owner, or the proprietor or manager of the store or establishment wherein the alleged offense occurred.
- When appropriate, officers should consider photographing evidence in accordance with the Code of Virginia § 19.2-270.1 and return the evidence to the owner in lieu of submitting the physical evidence into Property.
- All photographs used or to be used as evidence can be uploaded to the Tracker System for permanent storage.
- All evidentiary and non-evidentiary property submitted to the Property Office must be entered into the Tracker System. If numerous items are related to the same case, they can be itemized in the Tracker System under the same case number.
- Upon receipt, the Property Office personnel will log the items as separate packages with the same case number. All items associated with a case are to be secured in the same property locker. Comingling or aggregating of currency, drugs, etc., is prohibited as it may jeopardize a criminal case. For example, the legal seizure of money and drugs located in numerous areas within one vehicle should be packaged separately and the location of each item seized within the vehicle documented.
- Evidentiary and non-evidentiary property will be appropriately packaged, sealed, and labeled with all of the following information:
- Officer name
- Case number
- Suspect name, address, and DOB (if applicable)
- Victim name, address, and DOB (if applicable)
- Date and time
- Item(s) description with itemization
- Prior to submitting any property to the Property Office, the reporting officer must check all applicable evidentiary and non-evidentiary property through NCIC to verify its status. The reporting officer will complete an Incident-Based Report (IBR) for all evidentiary property submissions, detailing the circumstances by which the property came into VCUPD’s possession and a description of each item.
- Recovered or found property submissions will be packaged and submitted using the same guidelines that apply to evidentiary property submissions. The Property Office personnel will forward a letter and/or email to the property owner to allow them an opportunity to claim their property. Any recovered/found property which has been in VCUPD’s possession and unclaimed for more than 60 days will be disposed in accordance with Va. Code § 15.2-1719.
- Drug paraphernalia, drugs, currency, guns, ammunition, etc. seized in tandem with other items of evidence must be packaged separately.
- Drug submissions must be submitted in clear serialized tamper proof evidence/ property bags and entered into the Tracker System.
- The weight and/or number of drug items will be documented in the Tracker System and witnessed by another officer.
- The Property Office personnel will weigh the drugs for comparison with the submitting officer’s reported weight. Any discrepancies beyond reasonable limits to account for packaging will be immediately reported to the Assistant Chief of Operations for further investigation.
- The Property Office personnel will secure all drugs in designated drug cabinets in the evidence room. Drug paraphernalia will be secured in evidence bins in the evidence room.
- Hypodermic needles and other sharps will be submitted in appropriate biohazard evidence tube containers to prevent possible injury or infection to Property Office personnel.
- Currency submissions will be packaged in clear serialized tamper-proof evidence/property bags and entered into the Tracker System.
- All seized currency will be counted and verified by at least two officers and entered into the Tracker System’s cash count section (see also Written Directive 3-2 Fiscal Management, Asset Forfeiture section for more information).
- The Property Office personnel will secure currency in the Evidence Room’s safe.
- Firearm submissions will be packaged in appropriate firearm boxes.
- The submitting officer will ensure that any firearms submitted to the Property Office are unloaded and rendered safe.
- “Unloaded” must be written on the exterior of the firearm box.
- Any seized ammunition must be packaged separately.
- The confiscating officer will check all firearms through NCIC to determine their status before submitting them to the Property Office.
- The firearm and serial numbers must be entered into the Tracker System.
- The Property Office personnel will secure all firearms in designated firearm cabinets in the Evidence Room.
- A copy of the Virginia Department of State Police Criminal Firearms Clearinghouse Form and a copy of the Incident Report must be placed in the designated cabinet that’s storing the subject firearm.
- Knife submissions must be packaged in knife boxes when it is an open-blade style knife in order to prevent injury to Property Office personnel. Folding blade knives may be packaged in clear serialized bags if the knife is folded closed.
- Alcohol submissions must be sealed in plastic containers in order to prevent leaking.
- Blood vials must be secured in the Evidence refrigerator and logged into the Tracker System for submission to the State Laboratory.
- PERK Kits are stored in the Evidence refrigerator until they are submitted to the State Laboratory for analysis. Check the PERK Kit before placing in the refrigerator, as most PERK Kits DO NOT need to be refrigerated.
- Food items are not to be accepted into the Property Office and should be photographed and returned to the owner, when possible.
- Bicycles must be stored in the bike shed, entered into the Tracker System, with the Tracker System printout stapled to the bicycle frame.
- Biohazardous materials must be labeled with a “Biohazard” sticker and packaged to protect Property Office personnel from potential exposure.
- Computer/electronic/cell phone evidence seized for the purposes of investigation may be rendered useless if they are collected, packaged and/or analyzed incorrectly. The IT Analyst shall be called upon for assistance with items that are at risk of being compromised. Assistance from the RPD Technical Assistance and Computer Crimes Unit is also encouraged for any investigations that rely on electronic data sources.
- Computer towers and monitors can be submitted to the Property Office without being packaged. The computer items must be entered into the Tracker System and the Property Office personnel will tag the items and place them in storage.
- Jewelry submissions and other items of exceptional value will be packaged separately from other evidence and stored in the safe located in the Evidence Room by the Property Office personnel.
- Drug submissions must be submitted in clear serialized tamper proof evidence/ property bags and entered into the Tracker System.
- Any officer submitting items that are suspected to be a product of a crime must complete an Incident-Based Report (IBR) that provides a complete description of the property and/or other evidence, and details of the circumstances under which the property came into the custody of VCUPD.
- Evidentiary and non-evidentiary property must be entered into the Tracker System, packaged, and secured in their respective evidence or recovered property lockers.
- There are designated property lockers situated in the basement of VCUPD Headquarters located at 224 E. Broad St. for evidentiary and non-evidentiary property submissions and are the only lockers authorized for this purpose.
- The Property Office maintains sole control of all property locker keys.
- Only the recovered property lockers have locks that are numbered to correspond with the assigned locker number. When the recovered property lockers are not in use, the lock must remain on the corresponding locker door in an unlocked position. No personal locks are permitted to be used on any property locker.
- Evidentiary and non-evidentiary property must be packaged and placed in an appropriate property locker and entered into the Tracker System. The lock must be secured on the locker once the evidentiary or non-evidentiary property is placed into the locker, with no further authorized access by anyone except the Property Office personnel. The evidentiary or non-evidentiary property will be logged, processed, and stored by the Property Office personnel until it is signed out for transport to the Forensic Laboratory for analysis, court hearings, returned to the rightful owner, destroyed, or escheated to the State, as applicable.
- Prior to transport to the State Laboratory, all evidentiary property must first be entered into the Tracker System, submitted and logged by the Property Office, with no exceptions.
- Size appropriate lockers will be used to secure evidentiary and non-evidentiary property in numerical order. If any evidentiary or non-evidentiary property is too large for the storage lockers, or if all of the lockers are in use, the on-duty commander or supervisor must contact the Property Office personnel for assistance with storage.
- The Property Office personnel will retrieve and process evidentiary and non-evidentiary property from the property lockers each business day by 0830 hours. The Property Office personnel will log and secure the same in designated storage areas.
Non-Evidentiary Property Procedures
- Non-evidentiary property must be packaged, documented, and secured in the same manner as evidentiary property. Non-evidentiary property items must be secured in the recovered property storage area in the basement of VCUPD Headquarters located at 224 E. Broad St. by Property Office personnel on a daily basis. Currency, jewelry, and other items of exceptional value must be secured in the safe or Evidence Room as an extra security measure.
- The Property Office personnel will process all non-evidentiary property from the property lockers by 0830 hours each business day.
- Unclaimed personal property that has been stored in the Property Office that has no evidentiary value will be returned to the owner without delay. Every effort must be made to notify the owner via phone, email, and/or letter that their property is being stored by the VCUPD and is available for pickup.
- All non-evidentiary property that is held over 60 days by VCUPD will be destroyed, escheated to the state, or returned to the rightful owner, as prescribed by Va. Code § 15.2-1719.
- For ease of access, smaller, non-evidentiary recovered property will be secured in a locked cabinet in the Property Office at all times.
- A Non-Evidentiary Recovered Property spreadsheet has been created to track all non-evidentiary recovered property logged into Property. The spreadsheet includes all of the following: the associated case number; a description of the recovered property; the property owner’s information; the date the property owner was notified of unclaimed property in the possession of VCU Police; and the property disposal date.
Non-Evidentiary Property Receipts
- Anytime officers receive non-evidentiary property of value, they must gather all contact information for the person turning over the property and note the information in the Tracker System.
- The property must be inventoried, packaged, documented, and stored according to applicable policy and procedures container herein.
- Evidentiary and non-evidentiary property that can be legally released to the owner may not be released without prior authorization from the submitting and/or investigating officer. If property can be released to the owner, write on the property bag that it can be released and note it in the Tracker System, then send an email to the Property Office personnel in order to notify them that the evidentiary property can be released.
- Any and all property items seized by VCUPD officers that are deemed to have no evidentiary value shall be returned to the owner without delay, generally within 72 hours.
- Prior to release, the owner must have valid photo identification and documentation to demonstrate that they are the rightful owner.
- The property owner must sign the Transfer Receipt to signify that they acknowledge that they are taking physical possession of the items listed on the receipt.
- The Property Office personnel will initiate a records check through Patrol for any individual that is receiving a firearm from the Property Office, and verify the status of the firearm through NCIC before the firearm is released.
State Laboratory Submissions & Evidence for Court
- It is mandatory that all evidentiary property be logged into the Property Office prior to submission to the State Laboratory. The Property Office will then transport the evidence to the State Laboratory.
- Per the Code of Virginia § 19.2-11.7, a health care provider who has collected a PERK kit from a victim of sexual assault that has elected to report the offense to law enforcement shall notify the law enforcement agency that such kit has been collected. Upon receiving such notice from a health care provider, VCUPD shall take possession of the PERK kit.
- When VCUPD receives a PERK kit, Property Office personnel will log the kit into evidence and submit the PERK kit to the Department of Forensic Science for analysis within 60 days of receipt, except under the following circumstances:
- It is an anonymous PERK kit that shall be forwarded to the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services of the Virginia Department of General Services for storage (minimum of two years – see Code 19.2-11.6).
- The PERK kit was collected by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as part of a routine death investigation, and the medical examiner and the law enforcement agency agree that analysis is not warranted.
- The PERK kit is connected to an offense that occurred outside of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
- The PERK kit was determined by the law enforcement agency not to be connected to a criminal offense.
- Upon completion of analysis, the Department of Forensic Science shall return the PERK kit to VCUPD. Upon receipt of the PERK kit from the Department of Forensic Science, VCUPD shall store the PERK kit for a period of 10 years or until two years after the victim reaches the age of majority if the victim was a minor at the time of collection, whichever is longer. After the mandatory retention period has lapsed, VCUPD may destroy the PERK kit or, in its discretion, may elect to retain the PERK kit for a longer period of time (see Code § 19.2-11.8(B)).
- Once the Property Office personnel retrieves the evidence back from the State Laboratory, the evidence must be signed back in to the Property Office immediately after.
- A Certificate of Analysis must be filed with the court of jurisdiction at least seven (7) business days prior to the scheduled court date.
- Officers that need evidence for court proceedings must notify the Property Office personnel via email at least 24 hours prior to the court hearing, so that the evidence can be pulled in advance of the scheduled court date. The evidence must be signed out and returned to the Property Office immediately after court. The Property Office personnel will document any temporary release of evidentiary or non-evidentiary property in the Tracker System and the internal property inventory list for accountability purposes.
- The officer must obtain a court receipt signed by the clerk of the court should the court retain any temporarily released evidence. A copy of the signed court receipt must be submitted to the Property Office personnel to account for the location of the evidence.
- The Tracker System will generate an email to officers when an Evidence Review is due to be completed. Upon receipt, the receiving officer must follow the email instructions regarding what should be done with the evidence. The identified task should be completed within 10 calendar days of the email notification in order to prevent evidence backlog. The officer’s immediate supervisor must ensure compliance with this Evidence Review deadline on a monthly basis.
- Once a case is adjudicated in court, the officer should immediately send an email to the Property Office personnel to advise them of the change in status of any related evidence.
- Upon receipt of the final court order, evidence may ordinarily be destroyed immediately thereafter for misdemeanor convictions.
- Upon motion of a person convicted of a felony but not sentenced to death or his attorney of record to the circuit court that entered the judgment for the offense, the court shall order the storage, preservation and retention of specifically identified human biological evidence or representative samples collected or obtained in the case for a period of up to 15 years from the time of conviction, unless the court determines, in its discretion, that the evidence should be retained for a longer period of time. Pursuant to such court order, VCUPD shall transfer such evidence to the Department of Forensic Science (see Code § 19.2-270-4:1(A)).
- In the case of a person sentenced to death, the court that entered the judgment shall, in all cases, order any human biological evidence or representative samples to be transferred by the governmental entity having custody to the Department of Forensic Science. The Department of Forensic Science shall store, preserve, and retain such evidence until the judgment is executed (see Code § 19.2-270.4:1(B)).
- Disposal of all seized controlled substances, imitation controlled substances, marijuana, or paraphernalia used or to be used in a criminal prosecution under Chapter 7 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) of Title 18.2 of the Code of Virginia, shall be disposed of only after all rights of appeal have been exhausted.
- Per the Code of Virginia § 19.2-386.24, where seizures of controlled substances or marijuana are made in excess of 10 pounds in connection with any prosecution or investigation under Chapter 7 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) of Title 18.2, the appropriate law-enforcement agency may retain 10 pounds of the substance randomly selected from the seized substance for representative purposes as evidence and destroy the remainder of the seized substance.
- Before any destruction is carried out under this section, the law-enforcement agency shall photograph the seized material with identifying case number(s) or other means of identification and shall prepare a report identifying the seized material.
- The agency shall also notify the accused, or other interested party, if known, or their attorney, at least five (5) days in advance that the photography will take place and that they may be present. This entire process must be documented in the reporting officer’s supplemental report.
- Prior to any destruction under this Code section, the law-enforcement agency shall also notify the accused, or other interested party (if known), and their attorney at least seven (7) days prior to the destruction of the time and place the destruction will occur.
- Any notice required under the provisions of this Code section shall be by first-class mail to the last known address of the person required to be notified. In addition to the substance retained for representative purposes as evidence, all photographs and records made under this section and properly identified shall be admissible in any court proceeding for any purposes for which the seized substance itself would have been admissible.
- Other VCUPD-43 submissions must include the applicable case status: pending, warrant issued, civil claim pending, appeal pending, or other when signed evidence back into the Property Office.
- Evidence being held for one of these purposes will be reviewed 120 days later or the date indicated by the reporting officer until final resolution of the evidence.
- Status reviews will be required from any officer that is separating from employment with VCUPD on all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property stored under that officer’s name. It is the responsibility of that officer’s direct supervisor to ensure that this is completed prior to the officer’s last physical day of work.
Inspections and Inventories
- The Assistant Chief of Operations or their designee will conduct two full inventories of all evidentiary and non-evidentiary property each calendar year. The inventories will be documented via cover letter containing who conducted the inventory, the areas inventoried, any discrepancies, and an attached spreadsheet of the current inventory. Any discrepancies must be reported immediately to the Assistant Chief of Operations for further investigation, if conducted by a designee, or to the Chief if conducted by the Assistant Chief.
- An annual audit of property will be conducted by University Audit and Management Services, who are independent of the VCUPD Property Office. The audit will be documented via a cover letter containing who conducted the audit, the areas audited, and any discrepancies in the current property inventory. Any identified discrepancies will be immediately reported to the Assistant Chief of Operations for further investigation and resolution.
- A full inventory will be conducted jointly by the Property Office personnel and the Chief’s designee any time there is a change in assignment involving the Property Office personnel.
- There will be at least one unannounced inspection of all property and storage areas initiated by the Chief of Police each calendar year.
- A full inventory will be conducted jointly by the Property Manager and the Assistant Chief when there is a change in the VCUPD Chief role. The inventory will be conducted once the new VUCPD Chief takes control of the agency.
- At least once a month, the Property Office personnel shall conduct an inspection of the property storage areas to ensure that said areas are maintained in an orderly fashion, the property is free of damage and deterioration, and that established procedures for control and disposal are being followed. The Property Office personnel are responsible for documenting the inspection and forwarding it to the Assistant Chief of Operations for review.
Evidence Room Procedures
- Prior to entering the Evidence Room, ECC must first be notified. The ECC supervisor will contact the Assistant Chief of Operations any time the Evidence Room is accessed without ECC first being notified.
- When entering the first room of the Evidence area, the Assist Chief of Operations or Property Office personnel may access that room alone. Entry to the Evidence Room requires a card swipe and key.
- When entering the second room of the Evidence area, two people are required to be present, one of which must be the Assistant Chief of Operations, the Property Manager or the Property Technician who must provide Bio-Reader access. Both persons present are required to swipe their cards for access to the second room.
- Entry into the Evidence area must be documented in the log book, to include the names of the persons entering, the reason for the entry, and the date and time of the entry. The Evidence Room must be secured when left unattended in order to prevent any unauthorized access.
- Seized drugs are to be stored in the third locked room of the Evidence area on shelves labeled “A” and “B” files which are subcategorized numerically in closed boxes. Drugs that are slated for destruction should be removed from the main narcotics inventory and placed in a separate and secure drug shelf labeled “C” file.
- Firearms are to be stored on the shelves labeled “Gun shelf” in the second room of the Evidence area.
- Miscellaneous evidence is to be stored in numbered bins in the second room of the Evidence area.
- Currency, counterfeit currency and jewelry is to be secured in the safe in the third room of the Evidence area.
- PERK Kits that have not yet been submitted to the State Laboratory for analysis must be stored in a refrigerator, if required, in the third room of the Evidence area. If the PERK Kit does not need to be refrigerated, such PERK Kits are to be stored in the corresponding bin located in the second room of the Evidence area. If the PERK Kit has already been processed by the State Laboratory, it will be stored on a designated shelf labeled “Table/Floor” file in the second room of the Evidence area.
- Large items are to be labeled and stored in open storage spaces within the second room of the Evidence area.
- A destruction file labeled “Box-1” file is to be utilized to separate any items that are pending destruction from the main inventory located in the second room of the Evidence area.
- Any items that have been authorized for return to the owner or escheated to the State Treasurer’s Office must be stored in a box labeled “Recovered Destruction” or “State Treasury” located in the Property and Evidence Office located on the third floor of VCUPD Headquarters.
Evidentiary and Non-Evidentiary Disposal Procedures
- All destruction or disposal of evidentiary and non-evidentiary property must first be authorized by the Assistant Chief of Operations or their designee and directly supervised by the Property Office personnel.
- When disposing of evidentiary and non-evidentiary property, two Property Office personnel are required to be present at all times.
- Property disposal will be documented via cover letter and the destroyed inventory spreadsheet must be attached and forwarded to the Assistant Chief of Operations for review.
- All documentation will be stored on the shared drive and in hard copy form in the Property Office.
- Final disposition of all found or recovered property must be accomplished within 61 days.
- Final disposition of all evidentiary property that is no longer of evidentiary value must be accomplished 6 months after legal requirements have been satisfied and in accordance with the Code of Virginia.
- Disposals will be documented via cover letter with the disposed inventory spreadsheet attached and submitted to the Assistant Chief of Operations for review.
- Disposals will be conducted each quarter to maintain adequate storage space.
- All disposals will be documented via cover letter identifying the Property personnel involved, location of disposal, method of disposal, and a spreadsheet of all items destroyed.
- Drugs and drug paraphernalia will be disposed in accordance with the Code of Virginia § 19.2-386.23. A list of all Drugs will be sent to the Commonwealth Attorney prior to destruction. The Commonwealth Attorney will have a Judge sign a court order before drugs are destroyed. Drugs will be incinerated and drug paraphernalia will be physically destroyed on site by Property Office personnel. Two Property Office personnel are required to be present during disposal at all times. After the Drugs are destroyed, the Court Order must be notarized and the original order must be filed with Richmond Circuit Court Clerk’s Office. A copy of the Court Order and the List of Drugs must be mailed to the Board of Pharmacy.
- Per the Code of Virginia § 15.2-1721, VCUPD may destroy unclaimed firearms or other weapons which have been in the possession of the department for a period of more than 120 days. For purposes of this Code section, “unclaimed firearms and other weapons” means any firearm or other weapon belonging to another which has been acquired by a law enforcement officer pursuant to their duties, which is not needed in any criminal prosecution, which has not been claimed by its rightful owner and which the State Treasurer has indicated will be declined if remitted under the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act (Va. Code § 55-210.1 et seq.).
- Prior to the destruction of such firearms or other weapons, the department shall comply with the notice provision contained in the Code of Virginia § 15.2-1719.
- In accordance with the Code of Virginia § 15.2-1721, firearms will be periodically disposed of through the ATF, GunBusters or local smelting plants to ensure that the subject firearms or other weapons are rendered permanently inoperable.
- During any firearm disposal, two Property Office personnel are required to be present at all times.
- When utilizing GunBusters for firearm disposal, the Property Office personnel shall adhere to the following procedures:
- Contact GunBusters South East (GBSE) to arrange scheduling
- The Property Office personnel must complete a GBSE Intake spreadsheet
- Upon arrival at headquarters, the Property Office personnel will inventory the firearms with GBSE staff to confirm that the firearm list is accurate (i.e., make, model and serial number)
- Upon completion of a successful inventory, GBSE will provide the Property Office personnel with a signed receipt for the firearms to be disposed
- GBSE will transport the firearms to a GunBusters facility for destruction
- Upon completion of firearm destruction, GBSE will provide the Property Office personnel with a signed affidavit of destruction and copies of videos to verify their destruction
- The Code of Virginia § 15.2-1720 outlines the procedures for the disposal of unclaimed bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, and mopeds that remain in the possession of VCUPD. These devices may be provided for public sale or donated to a charitable organization if they remain in the possession of VCUPD, unclaimed, for more than 30 days. Prior to the department’s disposal of such unclaimed devices, the location and description of the device must be published at least once a week for two successive weeks in the local newspaper.
Property Record Systems
- All evidentiary and non-evidentiary property will be logged into the Tracker System each day by the Property Manager, along with the item’s storage location and status. Periodic reviews of the master property record will be conducted by the Assistant Chief of Operations in order to ensure that records are being properly maintained.
- Item serial numbers will be documented in the Tracker System for all applicable evidentiary and non-evidentiary property.
- Property disposal records will be documented via cover letter and the disposed inventory spreadsheet.
- All hard copies of records will be kept and stored for a period of three years from the date of destruction of any evidentiary and non-evidentiary property. Firearm records will be held for twenty-five years after the firearms have been destroyed.
Investigative or Training Use of Property or Evidence
- Any use of controlled substances, weapons or explosives for investigative or training purposes must be pre-approved by the Assistant Chief of Operations.
- Property personnel are responsible for logging any controlled substance or weapon used for investigative or training purposes into Tracker for security and accountability purposes.
- Controlled substances and weapons used for investigative or training purposes shall be secured and remain the responsibility of the commander of the affected unit until returned, if applicable, to the Property Office.
Uniforms and Equipment
- Before uniforms and equipment are issued to department personnel, a VCUPD-31 must be completed and submitted for review by the requesting employee’s supervisor to confirm a valid need for the uniform article or equipment. Prior to issuance, the form will be forwarded up the chain of command for approval and tracked using the tracking sheet located on the Google drive.
- All unserviceable uniform and equipment must be returned to the Property Office for disposal and appropriate documentation.
- The Property Office personnel will record all issued and returned uniforms and equipment on the individual officer’s property inventory list.
- Each officer is accountable for their issued uniforms and equipment.
This policy supersedes the following archived policies:
5/30/2014 - 3-5 Property and Evidence Management
10/27/2017 - 3-5 Property and Evidence Management
4/30/2019 - 3-5 Property and Evidence Management
8/05/2019 - 3-5 Property and Evidence Management
10/15/2020 - 3-5 Property and Evidence Management