When it comes to evidence collected from a crime scene it TMs very important officers and detectives properly store it, because if not, it won TMt be usable for a case.
That TMs what students in the Kirksville Citizens TM Police Academy learned during week 10 of their 14 week program.
Whether its finger prints or an article of clothing that is collected at a crime scene, there are different ways to properly store evidence without damaging it.
And students got a lesson on that by doing a hands-on exercise in class.
They also learned the importance of chain of custody which is a log that is created documenting every time a piece of evidence is handled.
It needs to be in the same condition as it was found and that TMs where the chain of custody comes into play, said Mindy Long, Records and Evidence Custodian for the Kirksville Police Department. The officer takes the piece of evidence and puts it in a temporary locker, than I get it and put it in the evidence room. Anyone that touches or has any hands on it, that piece of property has to be signed off on it with their signature, their initials, date and time, that way we know who has been involved with it.
Some students asked how long the department holds on to a piece of evidence and according to Long, it differs.
For found property, if we never find out who the owner is, we keep it for 90 days and then it TMs put into the auction which the city holds throughout the year, said Long.
Certain evidence they can never destroy.
Cases dealing with unsolved murders or sexual assaults we have to keep forever, so for those cases we have to make room to keep them, said Long.
The class also learned about records.
Long went into detail about record keeping and what types she deals with on a regular basis.
For those who are wondering, most records are open to the public and you can get a copy of one from the police department for a small fee.
But there are times when a request for a record is denied.
Records can be released because they are open to the public, but there is an exception to every rule, said Long. If records are denied it is due to different reason under law enforcement and the Sunshine Rules. Each case is looked at as to whether or not it can be released. If it TMs denied, then I have to provide a denial as to why it is denied.
There are several reasons why a request for a record may be denied: It may be because of a safety issue, a witness issue or an investigative issue.
Sometimes we aren TMt done with an investigation and if that TMs the case then we can TMt release a record because it could be detriment to the investigation, said Long.
Students also learned about day to day patrol operations.
Kirksville Police Officer Matt Kellison talked to students about the way they answer calls from dispatch along with their procedures when it comes to handling a traffic stop.
Officer Kellison also gave students and inside look at a police squad car and answered any of their questions they had.