A recently completed $120,000 renovation project in the property storage room at Whitehall police headquarters has increased capacity by about 40 percent and added amenities that will streamline investigations.
"It was kind of a chaotic mess down there at times," Whitehall police Lt. Tracy Sharpless said of the former property room at the headquarters, 365 S. Yearling Road.
Over the past three decades, a variety of lockers and containers of different colors and sizes were used inside the property room.
The renovation not only increases capacity by the use of sliding drawers but provides more-efficient and organized storage of evidence and property.
Police personnel will spend the next several weeks performing an inventory of all the property and disposing of some of it, Sharpless said.
More than 11,000 pieces of property were temporarily relocated within the station as part of the upgrade, Sharpless said.
Some of the property with no value will be destroyed, including computers from the 1990s and wired telephones that nested in the former property room for decades.
Police are required to keep some other aging items, such as evidence in connection with a handful of unsolved homicides in the city's history, Sharpless said.
The new property room has the convenience of a secure, refrigerated locker.
In the past, an arresting officer would place sealed bags in a refrigerator outside the property room. A property room officer later would inventory it and place it the property room.
The drying unit in the property room is a new amenity.
"If we had soiled clothes or a blood sample on clothes, we would put it on hangers to dry," Sharpless said.
The department now has a machine to keep property, as well as evidence such as marijuana, in a climate-controlled environment.
The Law Enforcement Trust Fund paid for the upgrade. The account contains money from the seizure or sale of cash and property connected to criminal activity.