Evidence tags could help curb police corruption

According to a recent study, theft is one of the most common forms of police corruption. This category of police corruption covers all manner of theft, from illegally confiscating drugs to taking items from the evidence locker, and the latter form of theft seems to be a particularly prevalent problem.
In Park City, Utah an officer was charged with multiple counts of theft for stealing from the evidence room. Allegedly, the officer committed several crimes over the course of five years and embezzled at least $50,000. In Winamac, Indiana an officer faced charges for stealing $6,000 from the evidence room while working the night shift.
In Contra Costa County, CA a 25-year veteran police officer was charged with multiple drug offenses, conspiracy, extortion, and illegal wiretapping in a drug scheme known as “Dirty DUI,” along with stealing drugs from the evidence locker and selling the illegal substances for cash. A 22-year veteran police officer was charged with stealing cocaine from an evidence vault in Piscataway, NJ while working as an evidence officer. In fact, after 1970, drugs replaced alcohol, prostitution and gambling as the major force behind corruption.
Evidence Bag
An empty and unlabeled evidence bag. From justgrimes.
The police corruption study does offer some strategies to help put an end to these problems. According to the report, closer monitoring of evidence collection and organization could be the answer to evidence theft, and evidence tags can help.
Evidence Chain Custody Tag
Evidence chain custody tag available at Xpresstags.com.
When evidence is processed, it is often handled by multiple officials before it reaches a lab or evidence room. During this time, corruption can occur.
At each step in the process, information is recorded on “chain of custody” tags. The information on these tags includes who had contact with the evidence, the date and time the evidence was handled, why the evidence was being handled by these people, and if any changes were made to the evidence. Monitoring and correctly filling out evidence and chain of custody tags is crucial to the evidence collection process and may help curb police corruption.
Proper tagging also gives officials the ability to locate evidence quickly and efficiently. Building a case depends largely on the evidence collected at the scene of a crime. With proper labeling this evidence can be accessed at any time and available not only to local police officers but also to lawyers, visiting officers, or federal employees. When these tags are copied into the station’s inventory it helps officers keep track of what’s going in and, more importantly, out of the evidence room.