7.020 - Found Property

Effective Date: 2/19/2014

7.020-POL

This policy applies to all employees submitting found property to the Evidence Unit.

1. Employees Investigate Found Property

Employees will screen found property using the criteria in RCW 63.21.050 to determine if the finder has a legal right to claim ownership of the property.

The finder may claim ownership of the property if:

  • There is no reasonable suspicion that the property is evidence of a crime, and
  • The property is legal for the finder to possess, and
  • The property is not an immediate danger to the public, and
  • The owner of the property cannot be identified

If the owner is unknown, See 7.020-TSK-1 An Employee Completing a Found Property Investigation with No Known Owner and the Finder Wishes to Make a Claim on the Property.

If the owner is known, See 7.020-TSK-2 An Employee Completing a Found Property Investigation with a Known Owner.

2. Finder May Immediately Claim Property Valued at $25 or Less

The finder of property valued at $25.00 or less and meets the listed criteria may claim the property immediately.

If the property is valued at more than $25.00, the officer will take custody of the property

Employees will complete a GO Report and submit the item to the Evidence Unit if the finder does not wish to claim the property.  Employees will not complete a Found Property Report (7.10)

3. Department Employees Cannot Claim Found Property

Employees who recover found property while working as police officers, either for the Department or for a secondary employer, will complete a GO Report and complete a 1.17 Evidence & Property Release Authorization then submit the item to the Evidence Unit.

4. Employees Document Found Narcotics

Employees recovering found narcotics without a known suspect will complete a GO Report and a 1.17 Evidence & Property Release Authorization indicating “Release to Director” then submits the narcotics to the Evidence Unit.

5. Employees Package all Found Money in A Currency Envelope (see 7.080-Money Evidence)

6. Officers May Respond to a Complaint of an Abandoned Bicycle

Communications will forward complaints to the SDOT Street Use Complaints Investigator at 206-615-0877.

The SDOT Street Use Complaints Investigator will locate the bicycle, record the serial number, photograph the bicycle and attach a 72 hour removal notice.

SDOT will contact SPD to check the bicycle for stolen.

If an officer is dispatched to collect a stolen bicycle, they will complete a GO Report and submit the bicycle to the Evidence Unit.

SDOT will handle bicycles that are abandoned but not reported stolen.

7.020-TSK-1 Completing a Found Property Investigation with No Known Owner and the Finder Wishes to Make a Claim on the Property

An employee investigating found property with no known owner and the finder wishes to make a claim on the property:

1. Reviews the finder’s claim on the found property using the listed criteria (See 7.030-POL #1).

1a. If the property is illegal to possess, completes a GO report (the item is not found property).

2. Completes a Found Property Report (form 7.10) with the finder.

2a.Obtains the finder’s signature on the form.

2b. Explains the “Notice to Finders” section on the back of the finders copy of the form.

2c. Gives the finder their copy of the form.

3. Takes possession of the found property.

3a. If the property is valued at $25.00 or less, the finder may take immediate custody of the property unless the property is currency.

4. Places a barcode evidence label on the item submitted to the Evidence Unit.

5. Submits the found property to the Evidence Unit with a copy of the Found Property Report (form 7.10).

6. Completes a GO Report listing “Property-Found” in the Offenses block.

6a. Completes the Found Property Text Template with the investigative narrative.

6b. Sends the original Found Property Report (7.10) to the Records Unit.

7.020-TSK-2 Completing a Found Property Investigation with a Known Owner

An employee investigating found property with a known owner:

1. Takes possession of the found property.

2. Completes a GO Report listing “Property-Found” in the Offenses block.

2a. Completes the Found Property Text Template with the investigative narrative.

3. Returns the property to the owner if possible, or places the property into the Evidence Unit.

3a. If the property is placed in the Evidence Unit, signs a 1.17 Evidence & Property Release Authorization, authorizing the Evidence Unit to release the property to the owner then completes a Property Release Notice (form 13.9) and mails the completed form to the known owner.