7.060 - Releasing Evidence

Effective Date: 05/01/22

7.060-POL General Policy

This policy applies to all employees releasing property and evidence.

1. Sworn Employees Respond to Requests to Release Property and Evidence

Sworn employees will reply to requests to release property and evidence from the Evidence Unit or Data.

- If the sworn employee cannot respond to the request due to extended leave or other reason (e.g., separation), the employee’s sergeant or supervisor will respond to the request.

Sworn employees receiving a criminal case decline notification will complete the disposition of evidence/property process in Mark43 to authorize items to be released to the owner or for disposal.

When applicable, sworn employees will mail the owner an Evidence/Property Release Authorization Form Letter [Form 13.9(A)] and email an Evidence/Property Release Authorization Form [Form 13.9(B)] to the Evidence Unit at spdevidenceunit@seattle.gov.

Sergeants receiving a request to review a case and authorize the disposition of evidence or property will complete the process in Mark43 or assign the responsibility to a detective or officer.

2. Sworn Employees Release Evidence No Longer Needed for Law Enforcement Purposes

Sworn employees will release property to the “Evidence Supervisor” for disposal when there is no known owner or when the owner cannot legally possess the property by following the Mark43 Evidence/Property Disposition Instructions (Internal Link).

7.060-TSK-1 Sworn Employee Releasing Evidence

When the sworn employee determines the evidence or property is no longer needed by the department, the employee:

1. Reviews the report.

2. Checks the statute of limitations - See: How to check on the statute of limitations.

3. Checks the case status on the King County Ingress – PAO Case Info web page for a felony or the Seattle Municipal Court ECF Portal web page for a misdemeanor.

4. Checks the suspect for warrants associated with the case.

5. Directs questions about the case to the appropriate follow-up unit supervisor.

6. Releases the property to the owner using the Mark43 Evidence/Property Disposition Instructions (Internal Link) and:

- Completes and mails the owner a hard copy of the Evidence and Property Release Letter [Form 13.9(A)],

- Sends a hardcopy to Data, and attaches a PDF copy to the report, and

Note: A phone call does not meet the legal requirement for proper notification. The Evidence Unit does not make owner notifications.

- Completes an Evidence/Property Release Authorization Form [Form 13.9(B)], attaches a PDF copy to the report, and emails a copy to the Evidence Unit at spdevidenceunit@seattle.gov.

7. Releases the property to the “Evidence Supervisor for Disposal” for no known owner or owner cannot possess the property by following the Mark43 Evidence/Property Disposition Instructions (Internal Link).