Before the city of Houston built its new Houston Police Department (HPD) property room, evidence storage and property was housed in an antiquated building that had outlived its purpose. Not only was the facility unable to fit any additional evidence, but the lack of organization made it hard for staff to locate evidence when needed.
According to Evidence Control Systems President Joe Latta, the importance of DNA evidence had significantly increased the amount of evidence that departments need to collect and store. Before beginning construction of their new facility, HPD identified their main challenges as protecting the integrity of their evidence; having enough space to accommodate up to one million different items such as bicycles, bumpers, drugs or jewelry; and creating an easy and efficient way to store and retrieve evidence items.
At the heart of the evidence storage solution was the ActivRAC® 16P high-density mobile storage system from Spacesaver® Corporation. With ActivRAC®, otherwise stationary (or fixed) rows of pallet racking and shelving are mounted on carriages and mobilized. The system still provides 100% accessibility to every pallet or storage location wherever and whenever needed. Users decide which aisle to “open” with a simple press of a button. The entire HPD property room was outfitted with the ActivRAC 16P mobile storage system.
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.”