Barcoded evidence improves P&E room efficiency

"Beast saves police, attorneys time during evidence retrieval" (from The Emporia Gazette)

A year ago, finding an older police evidence record required patience and maybe a small search party.

Today, the Emporia Police Department record area looks a lot different thanks to the BEAST. That is the acronym for barcoded evidence analysis statistics and tracking.

Emporia Police Chief Gary Smith complimented the BEAST and called it a wise purchase.

“It’s very rare that we can’t find something,” he said. “Usually our evidence technician can gather it within 10 minutes.”

Prior to implementing the barcode system last year, the police had written logs of evidence dating back to the 1920s. Smith said at one point they had around 100,000 items. Trying to find something in that mess was complicated and time-consuming.

As part of a 2008 procedure and protocol review, police staff decided to find a better way to keep track of evidence. They looked into the BEAST, which many other Kansas law enforcement entities use and Smith had used when he worked in Minnesota.
Last year, the Lyon County Attorney’s Office agreed to contribute $25,000 to the Emporia Police Department to purchase the new system. The money came from the Diversion Fund, which is not taxpayer supported.

The new system has led to a much more organized and clean evidence room. Smith said when a new piece of evidence comes in they put a barcode on it and scan it. It’s scanned out when the evidence is taken away and then scanned in again when it’s returned.

“We can track it when it’s at the courthouse,” he said. “The KBI has the same system so it can be scanned when it’s sent to them and when it’s returned.”

Click here to read the full article.

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