Evidence Storage Can Be Complicated

By: John Tramontana Email
By: John Tramontana Email

Thousands of pounds of drugs, dozens of guns, and more than $300,000 in cash are some of the items confiscated by police in one of Lansing's biggest drug busts in history.

While collecting that evidence can be a process for officers, storing it and eventually disposing of it can be even more complicated.

"We want to be very sure that drug evidence is secure. We audit it. We know where every piece of evidence is," said Lt. Bruce Ferguson of the Lansing Police Department.

And it all starts with security. The evidence is guarded by two secure gates. Then there's a doorway to a separate room that first requires an ID badge, and a pass code.

"This is something where even our patrol officers weren't familiar with because this isn't an area that everyone has access to," Ferguson said.

In fact only three l-p-d employees have access.

"It's not something we advertise, even in our own department."

All evidence possessed by the LPD first comes through a temporary room and is stored overnight. It's then taken to a secure, private location where is can be stored for an average of three years before it's disposed of by police.

That three year period is the time it usually takes for the appeals process to take its course. And when it's time for disposal, most items like drugs and guns and incinerated by the Michigan State Police. Other forfeiture items like jewelry and property are put up for auction. But what about the cash police seize?

"We take that money and put it back into the fund to use in the fight against drugs."

A fight, police say, will never end.

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