Logging, documenting, storing, inventorying and proper disposal of property are the main responsibilities of the Police Officers and civilian employees that work in Evidence. Police Officers bring property, or evidence, from such crimes a burglaries, criminal mischief, or disorderly house, for example.
Evidence may be used during court proceedings and needs to be held until a case is completed. Employees must wait for the appeal process of the legal system to be completed before disposal of evidence is allowed. Illegal property, such drug paraphernalia (marijuana pipe is an example) is discarded, while drugs are incinerated.
Staff contacts individuals who have property that can be released. People are given appropriate notification, either 30 or 90 days depending upon whether its evidence or found property, to claim their property. If there is no response, then the property is either discarded and/or given to www.propertyroom.com. This is a service that takes discarded property and sells it to the general public. A portion of the revenue generated from sales is returned to the City of Cedar Rapids. Some items can be repurposed by the Police Department. For example, materials that could be used for training, televisions used for monitors for training classes, or an air compressor for the Police Range have been repurposed.
Evidence also administers the towing contract. Vehicles are towed and impounded for violations such as Driving While under Suspension, Driving While Barred, Operating While Intoxicated, Drugs/Drug Paraphernalia, Firearms, and Hit & Run. Vehicles may also be towed at the owner’s request, such as from an accident scene.
Approximately 3,000 vehicles are towed each year.
The four employees that work in Evidence are all Evidence Technicians. The Evidence Technicians determine if a civil impound fee is required on towed vehicles. For a vehicle to be returned to its owner, the owner will typically call, sign for the vehicle, pay the City Treasurer any fees, and then pay the towing company for the return of the vehicle.
After a period of time and proper notifications, vehicles are disposed if they are not claimed. The towing company may hold an auction for the abandoned vehicles. The last auction was approximately two years ago.
Sergeant Dale Moyle, who supervises the Division, also processes forfeitures (most often money, guns, and vehicles) and works with the Linn County Attorney’s Office Civil Division to manage these cases.
Another important role of staff is to make copies of video evidence for the Linn County Attorney’s Office or private attorneys upon request.