Narcotics officers spend a great deal of time conducting surveillance in some of the worst places imaginable, and they do it while enduring some pretty rough conditions. After all, it’s not pleasant sitting in a patch of poison ivy during a rainstorm while watching a bad guy conducting his business. And, the narcotics officers never know if they’ll be discovered, which could lead to a violent confrontation, possibly even a shootout.
Once the surveillance is over, and officers have established the necessary probable cause for obtaining a search warrant, it’s time to locate and seize the evidence. Tactical teams rehearse for this moment over and over again.
Entry team serving a search warrant
Bale (or brick) of marijuana discovered during a search
Twenty-five pounds of freshly harvested marijuana
Back at the police department, officers deposit evidence, such as narcotics, into an evidence safe. Once the items have been placed into the opening on the top of the safe they cannot be removed except by the property room supervisor.
Safes, like the one pictured below, are used during the nighttime hours when the property room officers are off duty. Each morning the property room officers remove the items, catalogue them, and place them into the property warehouse, or other storage facility. Some evidence rooms are huge, like the warehouses in stores like Target,Walmart, and Lowes.
Property room supervisor weighing a bag of marijuana. No one has access to the evidence except the officers who work inside. If officers need a piece of evidence, they must sign for it much like you would do when checking out a library book.
Scales for weighing evidence. The weight is recorded on the yellow evidence tag along with other pertinent case information.
Evidence waiting to be catalogued
After a drug case has made its way though the courts, the drugs are destroyed.
Device used for destroying (burning) narcotics
Photos below are of officers destroying confiscated marijuana.