Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Police evidence rooms in need of good IAQ

Collecting and storing evidence is an important
part of police work and legal proceedings.
Collecting and handling evidence is often one of the weirdest parts of a police officer's work, but it is very important to properly store evidence for investigations and legal proceedings.

In most police evidence rooms, there is more than one custodian responsible for the evidence. The job is very technical, as any evidence that is lost or tempered with can't be used in a case in court.

To make sure they can tell where the evidence is, who's had access to it and when, the technicians need to put in place a rigorous process and go through regular internal audits. Digital record keeping helps with making evidence easier to track, and security is paramount.

The evidence room houses evidence such as illicit and prescription drugs, weapons as well as items connected to crimes, many of which will be returned to their owners, auctioned off or destroyed once the case has been closed.

Metal shelves and neatly labelled boxes make for an organized room, but the evidence technicians have to be careful about the indoor air quality in the evidence room.

Without proper ventilation and air exchanges, evidence room personnel may be exposed to airborne fumes, mold (especially Aspergillus mold from improperly stored marijuana), particles, dust, chemicals and other contaminants.

Measures for a healthy evidence room

Breathing contaminated air can affect a police officer's health and well being. Continuous exposure to poor indoor air quality has been associated with less productivity, respiratory disease and many other illnesses.

There are many measures that can be taken to make the evidence room (and other areas of the department) a safer and healthier place:

  • Use a diligent process for storing evidence
  • Use personal protective systems (such as masks and gloves) when moving and handling stored evidence
  • Monitor and adjust indoor heating, ventilation and air conditioning system
  • Use a portable air purifier with activated carbon, HEPA and UV germicidal filtration to remove chemicals, gases, fumes, odors, particles, dust and biological contaminants
  • Keep the evidence room clean and organized

Source: Press Publications, Electrocorp

Worried about indoor air quality in your evidence room or police department? Electrocorp has worked with law enforcement officers across North America to provide cleaner air in evidence rooms and at the workplace. For more information, contact Electrocorp or call 1-866-667-0297.

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