General Policy Information
Latest Revision Date: 11/20/2013
Title 1 - Department Structure and Function
Title 2 - Department Employment
Title 3 - Employee Welfare
Title 4 - Human Resources
Title 5 - Employee Conduct
Title 6 - Arrests, Search and Seizure
Title 7 - Evidence and Property
Title 8 - Use of Force
Title 9 - Equipment and Uniforms
Title 10 - Police Facilities & Security
Title 11 - Detainee Management
Title 12 - Department Information Systems
Title 13 - Vehicle Operations
Title 14 - Emergency Operations
Title 15 - Primary Investigation
Title 16 - Patrol Operations
Effective Date: 11/21/2008
When officers recover firearms, they must determine whether they are of evidentiary value and should be handled for fingerprints, testing, or safekeeping. Firearms are fingerprinted in the SPD Identification Unit. Firearms testing is conducted by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) - State Crime Laboratory. Firearms testing and tool mark comparisons are also done at the State Crime Laboratory.
“Shell Casings” (Fired Cartridge Casings) and Firearms will be collected and submitted into evidence for IBIS/NIBIN entry whenever possible.
Whenever shell casings or firearms are entered into evidence, it is presumed that they will be entered into IBIS/NIBIN:
After 30 days in the Evidence Unit, all eligible firearms and shell casings will be swabbed for DNA and entered into IBIS/NIBIN unless the assigned follow-up unit specifically requests other forensic testing or examination. The request must be given to the Evidence Unit, in writing, for the following requests:
• Washington State Patrol Crime Lab Request for Laboratory Examination Form, or
• Seattle Police Department Fingerprint Analysis Report.
A. If you are unfamiliar with the firearm to be recovered, request that an officer who is familiar with the type of weapon to be recovered, respond and assist.
B. Do not pick up a firearm before first making sure that the muzzle is pointed in a safe direction.
1. The best way to lift a pistol or revolver is to hold it with two fingers on the grip portion of the gun.
2. Do not pick up the firearm by placing a pencil or some other object in the barrel.
C. Consider the firearm loaded until it is positively checked clear and rendered safe.
1. When the firearm is unloaded, use the following procedure to render it safe:
a. Pistols or semi-automatic handguns: Place a flex-cuff or similar device through the magazine port, and out the ejection port of the weapon, so that the slide will remain open.
b. Revolvers: Place a flex cuff or similar device through the cartridge chamber to ensure that the cylinder will remain open.
c. Do not place a flex-cuff or similar device through the barrel of any firearm when rendering it safe, as it may destroy valuable evidence.
2. If there is any doubt whether the firearm is loaded or not, or if it is not possible to unload the firearm without destroying its evidentiary value:
a. Contact a Homicide/Assault Unit sergeant or detective for further instruction.
(1) Depending upon the evidentiary value of the firearm, it may be placed in evidence and processed as a loaded firearm.
3. Do not pull the trigger of a firearm to determine if the firearm is unloaded or to clear the chamber.
a. Open the chamber and conduct both a visual and physical inspection.
D. After 30 days, all eligible firearms will be test fired and entered into IBIS/NIBIN, unless a lab or print request is given to the Evidence Unit.
II. Fired Cartridge Cases
A. Fired cartridge cases should be entered in Versaterm as “ARTICLES”:
1. IBR Code = 77-Other,
2. Type Code = Y
3. Item = YCASING Shell Casings (begin typing “shell casing” in the look-up’s type ahead box)
a. If it can be determined, note the caliber and make of the shell casing (fired cartridge case may be abbreviated as “FCC”)
(1) Example: FCC, with head stamp, “9MM SPEER”
III. Evidence Entry of Sealed Firearms:
A. When DNA Analysis of a firearm is anticipated the firearm may be entered in a sealed box. The decision to place a firearm in a sealed box should be screened through CSI.
1. Before the firearm is sealed in the box,
a. Digital photographs of the firearm must be taken of sufficient detail to show:
(1) Serial Number
(a) Must be on the frame or receiver
(2) Name of the Manufacturer
(3) Country of Origin (If other that USA)
(5) Caliber or Gauge
(6) Name of Importer (If other that USA)
(7) City & State of the Importer (If other that USA)
b. These photos must be provided to the Evidence Firearms Specialist within 30 days of the firearm’s submission as evidence.
B. If no lab or print requests have been received and if the described digital photos are not provided to the Evidence Firearms Specialist within 30 days; the Firearms Specialist is authorized to open the sealed box, examine the firearm, and reseal the box under his or her own seal.
IV. Evidentiary Firearms Testing
A. Unloaded Firearm(s) That Require State Crime Laboratory Testing
1. Fill out the WSP State Crime Laboratory Request For Laboratory Examination (form WSP-CL-005) and give it the Evidence Unit.
B. Loaded Firearm(s) That Require State Crime Laboratory Testing
1. Occasionally, because of its condition, it may not be possible to determine if a firearm is loaded or not, or it may not be possible to unload a loaded firearm due to its condition. Under these circumstances it may be necessary to submit the firearm as a LOADED FIREARM:
a. Prepare a box large enough to receive the firearm:
(1) Place a completed evidence barcode label on the box,
(2) Clearly write “LOADED FIREARM” on the box,
(3) Do not attach anything, including tags or labels directly to the firearm,
(4) Place the firearm in the box,
(5) Draw arrows on the sides of the box indicating the direction that the muzzle is pointed.
(6) Leave the box open so that the next person to handle the box can clearly see its contents, with as little movement as possible.
b. Treat the box and its contents as a loaded firearm. Handle the box as little as possible. Be aware of the direction that the muzzle is pointed at all times.
(1) If you must place the loaded firearm in a pass through evidence locker, put the box in the locker so that the muzzle is pointed to the left or the right.
2. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL A LOADED FIREARM BE SEALED.