Law enforcement agencies have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the integrity of the criminal case evidence they maintain in their property and evidence facilities. Doing so is at the very foundation of a fair criminal justice system. Safeguarding and preserving evidence properly is guided by laws, standards, and specific procedures and conditions that must be strictly adhered to.

Conducting regular and thorough audits of evidence room procedures and their inventories should be a routine process for law enforcement. They can be conducted internally, or better yet, by a professional third party to ensure they are objective in their findings. This piece discusses the importance of property and evidence room audits for law enforcement agencies.


Maintaining an unbroken chain of custody record and demonstrating that unbroken chain is imperative in court proceedings. Without it, evidence may not be allowed in, or entire criminal cases may be dismissed. The auditing process is another layer of confirmation that the chain of custody remains intact for evidence on hand in the facility.


Audits deter any tampering with stored evidence. A thorough audit will include the physical examination of selected items of evidence and a review of the procedures, evidence documentation, and video surveillance footage to ensure compliance with standards and applicable laws – any issues discovered can then be investigated.


Regular audits play an essential role in identifying evidence room anomalies, whether in the inventory itself, how the various processes are being conducted, or in documentation. Routine audits can identify these issues so they can be addressed promptly, maintaining the integrity of the stored evidence.


The last thing any law enforcement agency wants is their property and evidence room to come under public scrutiny due to an accusation of mishandled evidence. Law enforcement personnel understand their ethical obligations and the importance of properly managing criminal case evidence. One of the best ways to eliminate problems that could cause a public uproar is by conducting regular audits of their facilities. These audits help maintain the agency’s public trust.


Many law enforcement agencies receive national accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) or state-level organizations. These bodies typically require regular evidence room audits to complete the accreditation process. While ensuring national or state-level best practices are maintained, accreditation is another way to instill the public’s trust.


Regular property and evidence room audits are necessary for any professional law enforcement agency. While internal audits are good, having outside, third-party experts conduct them is an even better option, as it precludes any internal bias, whether real or perceived. The criminal justice process relies on law enforcement to maintain the integrity of all evidence it handles, from collection to long-term storage. Audits ensure this by physical inspection, reviewing chain of custody records, checking compliance with laws, standards, and the agency’s procedures, deterring tampering, and identifying anomalies so the agency can swiftly rectify them. With today’s increased scrutiny of law enforcement operations and the agency’s desire to do the right thing, audits maintain the integrity of criminal case evidence stored in police property and evidence rooms. 


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.