LUBBOCK, Texas--The Lubbock Police Department Forensic Science and Property Unit will soon have a new home tailored specifically to its needs.
The Property Unit had been in its current location since the 1990s and has filled up with evidence from crime cases, stolen/found property and confiscated items.
Antonio Leal, with LPD, said there is a method to the madness, and even though things may look messy, each item has a place.
“It is organized at first glance, it may not appear to be organized to the regular person, but to somebody working there, they know exactly where every item is,” Leal said. “They take their time in placing the item in specific rooms, on specific shelves, in specific bins, and they know exactly where every item is going.”
Eight technicians will oversee 800,000 pieces of evidence in a 7,000-square-foot facility. The new facility will be double the size of the current unit at approximately 14,000 square feet, according to LPD.
“Their job is to maintain those thousands and thousands of pieces of evidence and in maintaining that they have to know exactly where each item is and so proper documentation of the location of that piece of evidence or property is very important,” Leal said.
The new facility will house both the Forensic and Property Unit, with special features making their jobs and storing property easier, unlike the current building, which only acts as a storage space.
“The property room that we’re in now was not designed to be a property room. It was, I believe, a car dealership back in the early 90s,” Leal said. “They’re going to be receiving high-density storage shelves that can be rolled in or built specifically for storing property.”
There will be changes taking place around town on how evidence will be collected. Before, officers could only go downtown to turn in evidence. Now, they are allowed to do so at some of their patrol stations.
The Eastside Patrol Station has a drop-off location where officers can leave items, which are collected by technicians and brought downtown.
Leal said items are usually destroyed every week to keep things from piling up. Destroyed items can be anything from donated or auctioned off to physically destroyed.
“It’s donated depending on the type of property that it is. It could be donated. It could be reallocated to the city,” Leal said. “If it’s part of an effort asset for if it’s part of an asset for forfeiture or seizure, we could requisition that property and distribute it either by donation or actual destruction.
Leal said the entire unit and department are looking forward to a fresh start in a building made especially for their unit.
“The Lubbock Police Department and its officers are very appreciative of the city council and the citizens of Lubbock for affording us the opportunity to have a new facility in which we can work and it certainly does make it easier to have an up-to-date location and tools to do our job,” Leal said.
The new building was estimated to be completed in October 2024.