Evidence collection is one of the most crucial parts of proving a case and ensuring that justice is served in the community. However, there is definitely a right way and a wrong way to handle evidence labels and chain of evidence documentation.
This article will discuss the proper ways to tag and label evidence found at a crime scene using specialized police evidence bags and consistent operating standards.
Tagging and labeling evidence isn’t just an important measure to follow protocol and keep the facts organized in a case. Additionally, by making evidence easily identifiable, crime scene investigators also reduce the risk of evidence tampering and the likelihood of a mistrial. To prevent a mistrial, evidence bags must clearly identify the contents and chain of custody information. Proper labeling is also an important step in the evidence transfer process and in eliminating potential confusion within the department.
Tagging is a useful part of the evidence collection process because it affixes information directly onto the item to eliminate confusion. Each police department has its own preferred procedures for tagging evidence, but it’s important to remain consistent with each case.
The tag should include a police identification number, the date, time, and a description of the item. It should also note where the piece of evidence was collected from, who collected it, and any information associated with the item’s make, model, or brand. By identifying the collector’s name, position, and badge number, you help establish the required chain of evidence. If multiple officers were involved in collecting a piece of evidence, then each of their names should be included on the tag.
Once pieces of evidence have been tagged, they can be placed in police evidence bags. If a piece of evidence is not able to be tagged because of its shape or size, the evidence package may be the only way to identify it.
On this evidence package, make sure to include the police case number, date, time, item description, and case type. This is also a good place to record the collector’s name, any serial numbers, and where the evidence is being sent to for analysis. The type of package needed depends on the type of evidence collected and whether it is liquid, solid, hazardous, corrosive, or fragile.
At Superior Bag, we’ve been creating secure solutions since 1980 and are the trusted brand of police departments across the country. We offer police evidence bags that have a place for all of the required labeling information, and they establish a chain of custody and reduce the risk of tampering. Using the same specialized bags for each case ensures that officers and crime scene technicians tag and label items in a similar way each and every time. This consistency saves time and embarrassment when officers are called to the witness stand to identify the marks in court.
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