HOUSTON POLICE DEPARTMENT SIZES UP THEIR EVIDENCE STORAGE
The Houston Police Department is the 5th largest police agency in the United States with an annual budget of more than $825 million dollars and a staff of 5300 sworn police officers and nearly 1300 civilian employees. From a public safety perspective, crime continues to remain relatively low because of the solid community partnership with the police. We are honored the Department looked to Spacesaver Mobilized Storage Systems to efficiently store and organize one million property and evidence items in 30% less space.
WHAT THEY HAD
Before the city of Houston built its new Houston Police Department (HPD) Property Room, the police department stored evidence and property in an antiquated building that had outlived its purpose. The facility made evidence storage a significant challenge requiring increased levels of staffing and ever escalating time spent on finding and retrieving evidence when needed for court.
In addition, HPD was faced with exponential growth of evidence and property. It is a problem shared by police departments nationwide, according to Evidence Control Systems President Joe Latta, who consulted for HPD during the new facility design process. The importance of DNA evidence today has significantly increased the amount of evidence departments need to collect and basically store forever.
The project challenges identified by HPD were:
- Safeguard the integrity of evidence
- Accommodate up to one million different items with unique space needs from drugs and jewelry to bicycles, car bumpers and washing machines
- Easily and efficiently store, locate and retrieve any evidence item
- Optimize the capacity given unique building angles
STEPS TO SOLVE
Spacesaver, in conjunction with the project architect,consulted with HPD to understand their existing needs and the attributes of the new facility design.
Other recommended systems ranged from powered, commercial-grade Eclipse® mobile systems to standard pallet racking. The weapons storage area was designed with Spacesaver’s commercial-grade mobile which provided for highly configurable shelving on the carriages. Each weapon is placed in a box and the shelves are arranged for maximum density.
HPD’s property room is hailed as a technically advanced, highly functional building that meets the need to maintain the integrity of evidence through proper security, climate control, and a highly efficient approach to storage.
With the use of ActivRAC mobilized storage systems, HPD was able to reduce the building envelope by as much as 30% saving significant construction costs without sacrificing storage space. Additionally the Property Room earned LEED certification through the use of sustainable design and construction processes.
The weapons storage area provides enough storage for 22,984 handguns, 5,256 rifles and 17,500 knives in a single room with quick and easy access to each.
At the opening of the facility, Mayor Bill White said the property room is a major asset for the city and its citizens and stated, “This property room is an indispensable part of the criminal justice system designed to keep our city safe while according fairness to those who are accused of crime.”