Law enforcement agencies are turning to the private sector for solutions to their long-term evidence storage needs. This industry has been around for over 20 years, and many departments take advantage of their services – if they are lucky enough to have one in their area. Presently, there are only a handful of companies offering this service in the United States.

About Private Providers

The companies that make up this industry are well thought of and respected. Most deliver services customized to the client’s needs and are cost-effective for the client agency. They are staffed by law enforcement personnel – both active and retired – who are experts in the field of evidence management. They employ highly trained, vetted employees and are led by people with years of successful business experience.

With these individuals at the helm, they understand their industry from the inside out and understand long-term evidence management from a law enforcement perspective.

They know the laws, standards, regulations, and best practices that govern evidence management, including storage and preservation in particular. In this piece, we will examine how private evidence storage companies are held accountable to key regulations in the same manner as law enforcement. And how they accomplish it.

1. Maintaining an Unbroken Chain of Custody Record

For evidence to be admissible in court, an unbroken chain of custody record must be maintained. From the initial collection to its release back to the collecting agency, every segment of the item’s journey must be documented. The people involved, dates, times, locations, and reason for transfer must all be recorded and maintained. Private companies use modern tracking systems and can account for the movement and location of every piece of evidence in their inventories. These systems simplify and accurately maintain chain of custody records for private providers.

2. Evidence Integrity 

Maintaining the integrity of evidence is what evidence management is all about. A vital part of that process is securing and preserving the evidence to prevent tampering, theft, or degradation. Private providers ensure the security and preservation of items in their care. Multi-purpose alarms, video monitoring, and access control systems protect their facilities. Storing items in their proper environments preserves the evidence. For items like guns, narcotics, and cash, many companies offer separate, secure rooms within their facilities, adding another level of security and accountability for these types of evidence.

3. Legal Compliance

Legal compliance is one area that the private sector excels in, and their facilities are one aspect of that compliance. The security measures, temperature and humidity-controlled zones, space, and interior infrastructure all help them maintain compliance. In addition, the tracking systems, monitoring capabilities, and protocols practiced by private companies all have their part in legal compliance. With evidence management experts on staff, compliance with laws and regulations is routine and monitored. Private providers realize they must stay up-to-date on the best practices of their industry, and they do so by maintaining memberships in state and national evidence management associations and attending necessary training.

4. Record Keeping and Documentation

Nothing indicates “accountability” quite like accurate documentation and record keeping. Both play a huge role in legal compliance and maintaining proof of evidence integrity. Police personnel have operated within this arena for years. Private companies are well aware of the requirements and maintain detailed records and documentation of the evidence in their possession and the processes utilized to keep it safe. Companies understand that their records and documentation are held to the same high standards as law enforcement’s in court proceedings.

5. Audits

Internal and external audits are routine procedures for professionally operated police evidence rooms. The services of private companies mirror many of the activities and processes and share legal responsibilities with their public counterparts. With this being the case, they should embrace the audit process as well. The results of conducted audits will demonstrate their adherence to the standards and regulations of evidence management. Audits indicate that they are holding themselves accountable, and that builds trust for their business.


Private providers and law enforcement are held to the same laws, standards, and regulations of evidence management. Private companies must demonstrate that their operations meet or exceed the standards of evidence storage and preservation. They do so by complying with the law, maintaining the strictest evidence integrity, keeping meticulous records, and conducting audits of their facilities. While there are other ways private companies demonstrate their adherence to regulations and best practices of the industry, they all add up to a high level of accountability and help them earn the trust of law enforcement and the public. 


Fortress Plus Solutions provides safe, secure, documented transportation, handling, and storage of evidence and property for the long term. If your items require special storage conditions – we provide that. In addition, we offer evidence room audits to help law enforcement maintain best practices and accurate and up-to-date inventory records. In our blog, we post informative articles about privatized long-term storage and the auditing process. To learn more about our services, click here.