Private, long-term evidence storage companies assist law enforcement agencies in their evidence management operations. They provide:

  • Off-site, secure, alarmed, unmarked, and monitored facilities
  • Proper storage environments so evidence is appropriately maintained
  • An unbroken chain of custody documentation
  • Large facilities and interior infrastructure ensuring the organization of evidence
  • Tracking systems that document evidence movement within the facility and can precisely locate any piece of evidence at any time
  • Compliance with the laws, standards, and best practices of evidence management

Private providers do things right, and most have former police evidence management experts on staff overseeing their processes.

But law enforcement agencies will always have and operate their own property and evidence rooms. Not all pieces of evidence need to be stored long-term. There are many reasons why items must be held locally – at least for the short-term; accessing them for in-progress investigations, analysis, and other testing are examples.


Consider an evidence room in a busy police department guided by modern policies and procedures. But their facilities may not be modern at all. In many, the evidence room wasn’t designed for the overwhelming amount of evidence stored there. It’s disorganized. Personnel are doing their best, but boxes are stacked on the floor, shelves overflowing, and large or odd-shaped items are piled atop each other in a corner or two, or maybe all of them. This environment is a reality for many law enforcement property and evidence rooms nationwide.

It is a situation that lends itself to inefficient evidence retrieval times, issues in maintaining unbroken chain of custody records, items not stored in their called-for environments, misplaced or lost items, and problems with standards compliance generally. Working in such an environment is also stressful for personnel.

For those reasons, agencies turn to private providers for their long-term evidence storage solutions.


Not to be overlooked are the benefits gleaned by the personnel and operations of the evidence room at the station – after the long-term evidence is transferred to a private provider.

Imagine being the personnel of an evidence room after all the long-term evidence has been transferred off-site. It’s the following morning. There are two of you, and you meet up in the hallway in front of the evidence room door. One of you uses a swipe card, opens the door, and…

It’s like when Dorothy opened the front door of her black and white house after being thrown over the rainbow and landing in OZ. Remember how you felt the first time you watched The Wizard of Oz? Remember that Technicolor scene of Munchkin Land just past the porch blowing you away?

That’s how your evidence room personnel will feel when they open their door for the first time after the transfer. Even though they helped throughout the transition and were probably there last night, this was the first full day working in an entirely new, user-friendly environment.

Were those two smiling? Absolutely.

While there’s still lots of reorganizing and probably cleaning to be done, there’s space to do it in. And after completing those housekeeping chores, operational efficiencies can become the norm. Such as:

  • Faster evidence retrieval from the organized inventory
  • Decreased risk of misplaced or lost items
  • Decreased risk of mislabeled items or other documentation errors, including maintaining unbroken chain of custody records
  • Decreased risk of evidence stored in an improper environment
  • Enhanced ability to comply with evidence handling and storage standards and the agency’s policies and procedures
  • Increased efficiency and even value of regular audits
  • The smiles on your personnel’s faces

Except for the last line, does that list look like the one summarizing the benefits of storing long-term evidence with a private company? It’s close, at least.

While certainly not at the same scale, the local PD’s property and evidence room can now operate much more efficiently, like their private big brothers do.

Besides the obvious practical value, law enforcement executives should consider the improved functions of their in-house evidence room when presenting the benefits of private evidence storage to government leaders.


The benefits of transferring evidence that must held long-term are not reserved for the services offered by a private company. They extend to the agency’s present facility, personnel, and operations. From faster retrieval times and improved compliance with standards to an acceptable workload for personnel, local evidence room operations will improve when an agency contracts with a private provider to store its long-term evidentiary items. This fact is one of many police managers can present to their governing bodies to justify contracting with private evidence storage providers.


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.