A look into the University of Minnesota Police Department's P&E operations

"Warehouse for the lost and seized: University police's recovered properties room stores evidence and confiscated items" (from The Minnesota Daily)

Steel shelves stuffed with boxes of electronics, drugs and guns line the walls of a small room. Another 8-foot tall shelf runs through the middle, leaving 3-foot aisles on either side.

The room, tucked away into the Transportation and Safety Building, is well-lit and fairly dust-free, despite holding a wide array of materials from criminal cases, some more than eight years old.

Each individual shelf is labeled, and the items that sit on them are marked with barcodes.

The bedroom-sized space is a warehouse of evidence, and a temporary home for lost, stolen and confiscated goods on campus that are turned into University police daily.

“Materials can find their way here by all different means,” Sgt. Erik Stenemann said as he walked between the overflowing shelves. “We’ve had people come in here and turn in coffeemakers.”

Recovered items sit on the shelves anywhere from 60 days to indefinitely. When officers seize or recover property, they bring it into University police headquarters and place it into a locker that can only be accessed from within the recovered properties room.

Only Stenemann and two other officers have keycards to the room.

Stenemann or one of his co-workers log each item into a computer database and connect it to the officer that seized the property.

That’s just one safeguard to ensure that officers won’t get into trouble if an item goes missing, Stenemann said. Any weapons seized are categorically logged into the computer system, and cash is placed into a safe for which no University officers have the combination.

“Only our accountant can access that safe,” Stenemann said. “I have no idea how much money is in there.”

Read the full article from The Minnesota Daily.

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