Several times each year, the GPD Property & Evidence Custodian must purge items of evidence that are no longer needed for court purposes. Other items of property, usually found items with no known owners, are also destroyed.
Before any property or evidence items can be purged and destroyed, the department must follow state laws and professional standards regarding the disposal of property & evidence.
Unclaimed found property must be kept for a certain amount of time before it can be disposed of, usually at least 6 months. Some items, such as bicycles for example, may be sold at auction. Most items that are found and never claimed by the owners are usually destroyed.
Items that were once used as evidence are destroyed after their evidentiary value is gone. A district or superior court judge must sign a destruction order that authorizes the department to dispose of the evidence. Drug items are burned. non-drug items are crushed.
These destruction processes are very controlled and regulated. Personnel from various functions within the department participate in this process to assure everything is done thoroughly and completely.
Non-drug items are taken to the landfill. Before they go into the landfill, however, every item is crushed by heavy machinery so that nothing can be salvaged or retrieved.
Drug items, such as marijuana, cocaine, and other illegal drugs, are burned in a local industrial-grade incinerator. The incinerator burns the drug items at over 1,000 degrees;..so hot that no smoke is generated.
This short video illustrates the destruction process:
The management of seized, recovered, and found property is a whole function within the department that the general public seldom gets to see. The Greenville Police Department may have in its possession more than 75,000 individual items of property & evidence at any one time. Some of these items will be kept practically forever because of their nature. Evidence associated with a homicide is a good example of this type of property.
Other items may come and go in only a few months.
Property & evidence management is one of the many comprehensive functions of every professional police department.