The legal and compliance landscape that law enforcement must traverse when it comes to evidence management isn’t a flat and easy journey. It’s complicated, time-consuming, and resource-intensive.

There are laws and standards that must be followed so the admissibility of evidence if challenged, will stand up in court. More importantly, processing evidence using today’s best practices identifies the correct criminal suspects and eliminates innocent parties.

Law enforcement personnel need and want to do things right. From the first officer on the scene watching where they’re stepping to the retrieval of DNA evidence stored for years, many legal and compliance regulations must be followed–all for safeguarding criminal case evidence.


Keep in mind that law enforcement must properly preserve, collect, package, and properly store evidence in the short term. They may need to send it to a lab, or in a large agency, it may stay in-house. However, short-term evidence management is still resource-intensive, and personnel must adhere to the laws and regulations already alluded to. And most agencies are prepared for and can handle that quite well.

The next step of the process, storing the evidence long-term, is where law enforcement is presently struggling; it’s reached crisis mode for many. Their facilities weren’t built for the volume of evidence they must store for the long run.

These agencies cope as best they can, but evidence rooms are stuffed to the gills – shelves overflowing with boxes, envelopes, and bags. Others lay on the floor, on top of cabinets, in desk drawers, and odd-shaped items? Those can be found, well, anywhere within the evidence room.

And that untidy description doesn’t even take into account evidence that should be refrigerated or kept at a non-room temperature or certain humidity level.

Evidence room personnel are doing the best they can with what they’ve got.


When you think about legal and compliance issues, it’s easy to think about them abstractly. Still, they are requirements that specify actions, conditions, and procedures that must be present and rigorously implemented.

Privatized long-term evidence storage companies streamline those actions, conditions, and procedures for law enforcement. Here’s how:

1. Compliance customized: For long-term evidence storage, the words “Compliance Customized” will never be uttered by evidence room personnel at a local police agency. At a private provider, it could be a catchy slogan. More importantly, it would be true. Many types of evidence require unique storage environments, and those in the business provide them. From refrigeration units to temperature and humidity-controlled zones within their facilities, providers ensure that individual items of evidence are stored according to applicable standards and regulations at all times. Additionally, firearms and drugs require special handling, and most private companies provide special armories and vaults within their facilities that comply with or exceed any regulations regarding their storage.

2. Evidence Accessibility:Private companies utilize large warehouses with the correct interior infrastructure to store evidence. This allows items to be stored in a neat, organized fashion. They use modern labeling, cataloging, and tracking systems that identify each piece of evidence and its precise location, allowing it to be easily retrieved or audited.

3. Chain of custody:Maintaining an unbroken chain of custody record is an absolute requirement in court and compliance audits. Private companies use technology and procedures to ensure the chain of custody documentation is 100% accurate. Their facilities lend to the ease of this record as once a piece of evidence is placed in storage; it normally need not be touched again until it’s retrieved.

4. Compliance audits made easy:Private sector providers streamline the auditing process by their very nature. Their technology pinpoints evidence location in an already organized facility. Accurate documentation of an item’s lifecycle in storage can be provided with a few clicks on a computer keyboard. Physical inspection of evidentiary items is conducted quickly and efficiently. Proof of law and regulatory compliance regarding items in their care is easy to provide when requested.


Privatizing long-term evidence storage for law enforcement offers ways to streamline the process while maintaining proof of strict adherence to the laws and standards governing them. While agencies will always handle initial processing and short-term evidence storage, private providers offer long-term solutions. This way of doing business decreases law enforcement’s overall resource investment while allowing them to be confident that their evidence is handled, managed, stored, and documented in compliance with the law and best practices. And private companies can efficiently prove that compliance through physical inspection of their facilities and readily available documentation.


At Fortress Plus Solutions, we provide safe, secure storage, handling, and transportation of evidence and property requiring long-term and special storage conditions. In addition, we offer evidence-room audits to help law enforcement maintain accurate and up-to-date evidence-room inventory records. And in our blog, we post informative articles about privatized long-term storage. To learn more about our services, click here.