Evidence lockers are a serious topic for law enforcement agencies across the United States.  If you think about it, each and every police agency needs a place to lock evidence up and have the peace of mind that it will remain securely locked down until the case it belongs to works its way through the court and justice system.

So what makes for a good evidence locker room?   Obviously it begins with the evidence locker itself.  Most law enforcement agencies agree that prosecutors cannot win cases where there is not a clear, secure and reliable chain of custody during the storage of the evidence that was collected in the field.  

Evidence lockers must possess the following characteristics:

- It must be secure.  By allowing only certain individuals access to the locker through a key or an advanced electronic padlock system, you have protected the contents from many hands; limiting it to a few hands who have actual access.  Many electronic locks have a digital ‘memory’ where software collects data on which user accessed which locker at what time.  Locking systems such as these help protect that chain of custody and offer definitive proof as to who had access and when.

- Seeing is believing.  Some agencies use ‘Clear View” lockers to allow a quick visual inspection of the locker’s contents.  Now if these lockers may compromise some aspects of the evidence, you can always install a blend of Clear View and regular, solid lockers in the evidence lock up area.

- The lockers must be able to hold a wide variety of different sizes.  Evidence can take the form of many shapes and odd things, from blood samples to guns and even car tires.  Having an evidence locker room set up that can accommodate a myriad of shapes and sizes—not to mention potentially dangerous items such as knives, firearms and drugs—is one key component you need to think about before ordering those evidence lockers.

- Access.  This is crucial since crime does not happen during regular work hours.  Having an evidence lock up area in which police officers can securely deposit evidence during any point in time without having to wait for a CSI type to unlock the area.  Having a ‘pass-through lockers’ that allow officers to drop off evidence on one side, lock the door and CSI technicians to retrieve it from the other side through a lock up door work very well.  But if you have a smaller police station, where there is a low crime rate and evidence isn’t as overwhelming then perhaps a pass through locker isn’t as feasible.

- Video security.  Does your evidence locker area provide a way for monitoring it in real time, as well as recording the events for the future if something does in fact go wrong?  Look into installing a video surveillance system that covers each and every inch of the evidence room—not only that, but one that will also record every aspect of the CSI evidence testing and storing process as well.

- Keeping it cool.  Sometimes evidence lockers will need to be kept in a refrigerated area to preserve that evidence keeping it at a certain temperature in order to preserve it.  For these types of locker set ups, it is best to speak with the forensic department about their needs before ordering lockers and just placing them in rooms that are either too hot, or too cold.  Keep in mind that humidity also destroys key forensic evidence as well.

- Does it go bang?  Face it; most evidence will come to you in the form of a weapon.  Absolute security is essential to ensure that weapon does not return to a life of crime.  By having secure locking capabilities, heavy gauge construction and limited access only helps prevent a weapon from being stolen from the evidence room.  Also take this concept a step further and examine your officer’s turn out locker situation.  Do they have the means necessary to lock up their side arms and long rifles?  In their gear lockers have you allowed a place where these firearms, Taser guns and other dangerous but non-lethal tools can be securely locked up and stored?

By addressing these few simple concepts, you can make your law enforcement evidence lock up more secure and safe, while preserving the chain of custody you need to provide in order to put the bad guys away for a very, very long time.
 
 
Your garage can be the accumulation point for just about every odd-and-end, otherwise unwanted and stray object you and your family owns.  Like a large, vacuous black hole where junk and clutter is inexplicably drawn towards, only to remain in limbo until missed—which sometimes is never!

Ask most any family—and especially the wives—and they will confess that the garage is such a place, requiring organization in order for it not to ‘take over’ the place.  So here are a few ways that garage lockers can help you solve this issue:

First there is no such thing as one specific garage locker design.  It can be anything you dream up.  Any, and most lockers, will address the whole garage lockers issue.  And the best part is that if you are looking to save a dime or two, you can also look into finding and buying used lockers since not too many people are going to be having afternoon tea in your garage!

- One of the most popular ideas is using one that has a stadium locker design.  In other words, it has an open face that allows quick access and visual inspection to the contents inside.  Usually with a bar across the top for hanging clothing and a few shelves and a bottom foot locker area that can be opened and shut—or locked in a few designs.  These can be used to store large, bulky golf club bags, backpacks, sports gear, bulky tents, and even hang automotive work clothes like overalls and the like inside.  Using a garage locker like this allows a reserved space for these items, reducing clutter.

- Don’t be a basket case; try basket lockers.  This is another popular style that addresses the smaller clutter normally found in a garage.  Using baskets in a large locker type holding area increases the amount of useable storage space in the garage by going upwards, vertically.  By using such ideas (and shelving) that maximize the space above you greatly increases the storage area and enhances the overall look of tidiness in your garage.

- Hot Wheels.  Yes.  Sometimes it is very beneficial to have your garage locker on large casters (wheels) that will allow easy reconfiguration of the garage lockers layout.  Attaching wheels to these units let you move and change up your garage and maximize space even when you have the largest and most bulky items to temporarily store.

- Tools need love too!  Purchasing either a new or used locker can be extremely beneficial when you think of alllllll the spare parts needed for, say, a weed whacker or other yard tool.  Having one centralized and designated place to store all these extra parts, tiny trowels, pails, fertilizer or pesticides that need to be locked up, gardening gloves and other widgets that you need when working in the yard is awesome.  Think of the time you will save by storing them all in one area and can now find them because they aren’t scattered across Hells Half Acre each time you look for them.  This certainly allows some peace of mind.  Why not place them all in a used 2-tier or 3-tier unit that you have now designated as your garage locker?

- Garage lockers can eliminate the need for an official mud room.  Yes!  By creating benches with room underneath for muddy boots, shoes and athletic gear allow your home to be less dirty; and ladies we all know that means less cleaning!  Creating the perfect garage locker with ample space for muddy shoes, as well as having the open stadium locker design, ensures less muddy footprints and a place OUTSIDE the house to hang those smelly uniforms and jerseys until they can be washed.

- Having lots and lots of STUFF.  George Carlin’s bit on having too much stuff is spot on when it comes to the need for a garage locker.  Organizing all of that stuff into large locker compartments can be easily done and keep Christmas decorations, Halloween decorations Independence Day décor in their own respective places.  So rather than having old, busted up cardboard boxes strewn about, a garage locker can simultaneously gather these items in one place, and keep them secure in one place and allow for a very organized and clean garage look!

These are but a few ideas on how to turn a simple new or used locker into one of those coveted garage lockers and what it can do to help better organize, and maximize, storage in your garage.