Evidence Labels for Crime Labs: 4 Considerations
A lot has changed in crime scene investigation since good guys first started holding bad guys accountable for crimes. Detectives have gone from being sleuths who piece together facts to also being investigators who collect pieces of factual evidence for scientists to examine in the lab.
Today, gathering evidence is one thing, and processing it is another. Even when police hand a forensics team everything needed to create a scientific slam dunk in court, the case can be made or broken by how the team handles evidence. A crucial aspect of proper evidence handling is using the right evidence labels for the application.
Evidence Labels for Crime Labs
Just about anything can be preserved as evidence: placed in a container that wears an evidence label, and then moved to storage. It’s a simple task for experienced lab workers, but it’s also a key to making evidence identifiable for as long as police and prosecuting attorneys require. Below are four considerations that prove the point.
- Storage Temperature
Biological evidence — and almost anything else that readily degrades from molecular activity — is usually placed in cold storage. Consequently, the capsule needs a label with adhesive that retains tack under cold temperatures. If the label falls off, the specimen may need to be retested and relabeled due to ethical considerations alone. Anyway you slice it, it’s time and money the legal system doesn’t wish to spend.
- Information Legibility
Dye-based inkjet print and handwriting in ink can smear and fade with time, especially in environments that have a moderate to high moisture density. Ideally, evidence labels should have a composition and print source that resist moisture (e.g. a synthetic label with laser printed information), especially for cold case samples that are stored in the evidence locker indefinitely.
- Scientific Testing
Evidence is tested in different ways. Testing processes are well-defined, but there can be quite a few samples in the crime lab at any time. Labs that perform different tests can ensure the right process is used by implementing color-coded evidence labels, using a different color for each test process. Color-coded labels help busy lab techs work quickly and accurately.
- Evidence Tampering
No one likes to talk about it, but it occasionally happens: tampering with evidence from within the lab. You trust your staff, but your organization could be in for a major PR disaster and a big legal settlement if a worker ever happens to stray. You can implement sequentially numbered tamper-proof labels that make it virtually impossible to tamper with evidence unnoticed.
Contact Us Today
Evidence labeling issues shouldn’t stand in the way of a crime lab’s duties to the legal system — and they don’t when labs work with Shamrock Labels to ensure their labels are properly matched with labeling applications. To get started on ordering stock or custom evidence labels for your lab, please call us today at (800) 323-0249, or send us an email through our contact form. We look forward to supporting your essential work!