The Property/Evidence unit was reduced from 2 to 1 employee at the end of May 2008.
This unit currently has responsibility for maintaining a chain of custody for includes items ranging from microscopic specimens to construction vehicles. In 2011, property/evidence:
- returned 744 items to their owner.
destroyed 439 items (result of court order, forfeiture, unclaimed, etc.).
auctioned 15 items (result of unclaimed property).
processed 27 monetary forfeitures (result of court order in a criminal case).
transferred 48 items to other law enforcement agencies (drug samples for testing, returned stolen property to other departments, etc).
transported 404 items to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab for forensic examination.
purged 2,029 items due to case adjudication.
The Property/Evidence Unit is responsible for the collection, preservation, storage, management and final disposition of all evidence collected by both the Sheriff's Office, as well as the Probation Forensics Laboratory system, while others are processed internally.
In 2011, 9,511 items were submitted for processing. Proper documentation of the chain of custody for each individual item is essential for the successful prosecution of criminal cases. This not only protects the professional reputation of the Sheriff's Office, but also reduces the Department's exposure to liability situations.
This Unit also responds to major crime scenes to assist investigators with the proper collection and documentation of evidence and may also be called upon to assist with the County's Major Crime Team in support of other police agencies. The Property/Evidence Unit is also responsible for maintaining an active purge system to maximize use of Department resources, while either returning property to its owner in a timely fashion, legally converting property to County use or destroying it.
- Property / Evidence audits occur annually, with an external auditor review every five years, resulting in less than 1% variance.
- Property Management practices comply with industry and legal standards.
- Property / Evidence services are rated "adequate" in periodic surveys of customer satisfaction.
- Ensure property intake area OSHA compliant and consistent with industry standards.
- Implement a purge program with target of 100% purge of current disposable cases and 30% purge of historical disposable cases.
- Upgrade the intake process for bulk property.