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Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook Best Practices for Evidence Handlers

NiSTIR 7928le Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook:Best practices for evidence handlersechnical Working Group on Biical Evidence preservationMarkLaw Enforcement Standards offask ForceLos Gatos/Monte Sereno Police DepartmentGerry LaPortelational Institute of JusticeCommerce City Police DBrian E

OstromPortland Metro Forensic LaboratoryBooz Allen hamiltonSociety of CrimeForensic Services bureouMiami- Dade police DPatrick D Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director

able 1-1: Examples of Sources of Biological Evidence(Nastitute of justice 2002)DNA on theSource of dnaaseball bat or similarweat, skin bloode entissuena, or masSweat, hair dandruffse or ear pieceglaal tissue

cottonSurface aMucus, blood sweatSurface areaBlood, sweat, semeUsed cigaretteCigarette buttckedape or ligaturenside/outside surface Saliva, skinBottle, can, or glassSide, mouthpiecenside/outside surfaceectal cellsBlanket, pillow, shSurface areaSweat, hair, seThrough and through"Outside surfaceBlood tissuePerson's skin orBiFingernail, partialBloodotential sources of biological evidence cade, but are not limited to, the types of evidence listedableay not contain DNA or may provide informationn official with experienceext oindividual case should ultimately determine if an item could contain biological evidence and should beretained as such These officials may include detectives, attorneys, investigators, crime scene technicians,and/or crime laboratory staff members Property and evidence custodians, hoxpertise or insight into the context of a specific case to make initial determinations of what should beRecommendation -2property and evidence custodian accepting biologicaland labeled by the submitter as biological evidence, allowing it to be tracked within the evidencemanagement system and stored appropriately from intake through dispositionechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation2

BULKY EVIDENCE: CONSIDERATIONS FOR LONG-TERM EVIDENCE RETENTIONd post-conviction proceedings, it is essential to store andch of the evidencey Howeverbe extrebems of evidence froierial is derived Figure l-l depicts thematerial from a large bulky item--such as a couch--for forensic testingthe long term, agencto the large item on which biological evidence may have been located(see A in figure 1-l)

Otherexamples of bulky evidence include a car, the wallceiling of a house, carpet, or another large pieceniture such as a bed If the origin of a sample is well documented(such as through photographscase files), it may not be necessary to store the entire couch for testing and future re-testingbiological evidenceFigure 1-1: Collection of evidence from large/bulky itemsRecommendation -3Property and evidence custodians should consult with investigators, laboratoryopropriate, prosecutors to deterwhether only representative sample(s)tuations in whichtoo large or too costly to store, Property andvestigators, laboratory analysts, and prosecutors should discuss situations inshould bede exclusively by property and evidenceRECOMMENDED CRIME CATEGORIES FOR WHICH EVIDENCE SHOULD BE PRESERVEDaddition to defining what should be retained, the category of crimes for which biological evidenceshould be retained must also be prescribed Individual state laws vary greatly in this regard (see appendixB for a listing of existing state laws regarding biological evidence retentiEFFECT OF"CASE STATUS ON THE RETENTION OF BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCEing the duration of time that biological evidence must be held it is essentialfour categories ofcase statusestigation contiects charged and court proceedings activeAdiudmittalUnfounded/Refused/ Denied/No Further InvestigationHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK

his section provides an overview of each of these categories and discusses the implications of biologif illustration this handbookthat are used in the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Incident-Based Reporting System(NIBRSclassifies 22AGBChe NibrsOPEN CASESOpen cases are those in which one or more suspects have not yet been identified or charged, a suspecthas been identified but not yet charged, or the investigation is ongoing As a standard practice, itecommended that the evidence be md bye statute ofimitations for the crime or as applicable by lawan open invdefinitely for homicides and, at a minimum, for the length of the statute of limitations for all otherCHARGES FILEDthe evidence is needed for laboratory analysihas been charged and court proceedings have beenbe initiated, evidence custodians should benotified if charges have been filed to()cotstatus for evidd(2)ssist evidence custodians in detestatusunications link should be established between investigators, prosecutors, and the responsiblecustodial agency to be able to determine if charges are filedADJUDICATEDhas been rendered in a legal proceeding The disposition ofy Knowledge of the retentional guidance is provided in table 1-2

Appendix B identifiesevidence retention laws in thdation -6iological evidence should be preserved thrat amum, the period of incarceration in tlhomicides, sexuales, assaults, kidnapping/abductions, and robberies For all other Groupevidence mayed ofauthoUNFOUNDED/REFUSEDIDENIEDINO FURTHER INVESTIGATIONes categorized as unfounded, refused, or denied, or for whifurtherwill beconducted, evidence can be disposeon receipt of disposition appthevestigator unless such disposal is prohibited by law This category includes instances in which theechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

tim chooseso press charges, the prosecutor decides not to file charges, the investigatordetermines no arrest will be made, or the case is exceptionally cleareddetermined that charges will not be sought or filed, evidence, including any biologicalneed not be retained unless destruction is prohibited by statuteCRIME CATEGORY/CASE STATUSIPERIOD OF RETENTION CHARTe of his/her duties, the property and evidencecustody and may decide whether contact should be made with theoffior Crime categories/te therefore ke of the specificcategories in one's own state is crucial Table 1-2 provides guidanceable 1-2: Summary of Biological Evidence Retention Guidelines for Crime CategoriesCASE STATUSnfounded/cRefused/ Denied/CategoriesOpentCharges Filed AdjudicatedNo Further(NIBRS)nvestigationOffensesindefinitelygthauthorizationscarceration#Sexual offenseAt minimumgthofAbductiongthetain pendingcarceration#ofstatute ofauthorizationsAll Other Groupreceipt ofa&b offensesNational Incident-Based Reporting System() classifies 22 types ofof lesser offenses aable -2 uses the nibrsStatutes regarding the disposition of biological eideral offenses and otherategories vary from state to state

Almost all states that have statutes rethat such evidence be heldhe evidence be held for thed of probation as a sex offender Custodians should check their state statutes, wriprovides further guidance regarding the disposition processTHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK

BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE SAFETY AND HANDLINGPURPOSEis section provides guidance on biological evidence safety and handling concerns and includesprecautionguidance regarding the use of personal protective equipment(PPE)the disposal of regulated wasndividuals handling any evidence should assume that all of it may contain potentially hazardous biologicalmateriaL anyng biological material may be exposed to harmful infectioncations related to the safe handling of bguidance on the way individuals should protect themselvesprotect workers from exposure to human blood or other potentially infectious materials It is notossible to determine if every bodily fluid or stain collected from crime scenes is contaminated with abloodborne pathogen; therefore, all bodily fluids and tissues are presumed to be contaminated Wherdividuals handle any type of biological evidence, procedures need to be in place to reduce or eliminatethe risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens that can transmit disease(OSHA 2012) Comdiseases/viruses causeexposuhogens include hepatitis and hconcern becauthe risk of death associated with infection once an individual is exposePERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENTe appropriate use of Plntended to protect the individual and the evidenedes disposable gloves, disposableIs, laboratory coats, masks, andbiological safety concerns and PPE requirements

Directives shoulhe following universalprecautions and work practices, as identified by OSHA(2012), or state regulations derived from OSIPPE should be used in every situation in which there is a possibility of exposure torst aid or medical care, handling soiled materials or equipment, and cleaning up spills ofazardous materials Face protectors, such as splash goggles, should be worn to protect againstthat may splash, splatter, or sprayPPE must be clnd in good repair PPE that isctured, or that has lostrrier snobe usedsable Ppe should noter any circumstances While using PPE, individuals should not touch their eyes orPPE must be removed when it becomes contaminated and before leaving the wearea Used protective clothing and equipment must be placed in designated areas for storage,Driedrother dry potentially infectious material should not be assumedbe safe Ppe should be used when handling these iteechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

When wet material is spilled the area containing bloodntially infectious material should be covered with paperdoused with a disinfectantn(0 bleach solution), left for at least 10should then be placed in a waste disposalbag designated for biohazardous material, appropriate ppe should be usedBIOHAZARDazardous biological evidence packages must bebeled withazard labels and signage without the biod labeld inadvertently be exposed to risk orHIGH RISKte the evidenceapplies to any shelves or rooms where these items are being storedBiohazardabelAdditionally, a ventilation systemOccupational Safety and Health Astration(OSHAOSHA, established by the occupational Safety and health Act of 1970, authorizes the Secretaryevegulations, to conduct investigations and inspections, to determine the status of compliance withafety and health standards and regulations, and to issue citations for noncompliance with safetyd health standards and regulations The Act also requires that states with an approved state plaiprovide for the development and enforcement of safety and health standards Twenty-one statesoperate their own job safety and health programs(three additional states cover only state andlocal gent employees) States with approved programs must set job safety and healthmparable Federal standards

In most cases, statesdopt standards identical to Federal ones(OSHA 2012)OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogen Standard is designed to protect theworkealthdelatedIonsbloodborne pathogens, such as HIv and the hepatitis Bs (HBV) The standard createsere workers handle bloodor other potentially infectious materials, including bodily fluidEXPOSURE CONTROL PLANCrime laboratories, property and evidence rooms, and other locations where biological evidence isstored should have exposure control plans in place that are designed to minimize or eliminatational exposure to bloodborne pathogens An exposure ceyer s writtene protective meaexposure to blood and potentially infectious diseases At athe planan exposure determination that identifies job classifications andprocedures that involve occupational exposure to blood and potentiallyprocedures for evaluating the circumstances surrounding an exposure inga schedule of how and when other provisions of the standard will be implemented includithods of compliance, communication of hazards to employees, and recordkeeping (OSHA2012)ployee handling biological evidence must be trained on all related requirements and exposureHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK7

Agencies should strictly limit the number of employees with exposurenformationBIAL EVIDENCE DREGULATED WASTEe OSHa standard also defines wastes that should be regulated and monitored regulated waste, asdefined in Bloodborne Pathogen Standard, is liquid or semi-liquid blood or other potentially infectiousmaterials, contaminated items that would release blood or other potentnated shiId pathological and microbiological wastes containing blood or other potentially infectious ma(OSHA2012)Regulations governing the disposal of regulated waste or waste that requires special handling exist at thetate level, most often from the state's department of health Generally, state laws require that regulatedraste be rendered non-infectioto disposal Once the biohazard is decontaminated, it can beSTAGING FOR DESTRUCTIONI DECONTAMINATIONems to be destroyed or decontaminated must be removed from the active inventory and staged in anfor " bio items"that are scheduledhhods thatbe used to destroy or decontaminate biohazardous materialcineration Incineration involves the actual burning of the waste This method both destroyses the evidence Although effective,ed withd consult local and state laws for guidance

Thermal Treatment Similar to incineration, thermal treatments use heat to destroy anytypes of thermal treatmentsrowaves, and dry heat systems Each of these can be used to render biologidence safe prior to disposaChemical Trea

tment The most common method of decontamination is the use of chlorineher in the form of sodium hypochlorite solution(commonly known as bleach)or in the formof thehazardous) gas, chlorine dioxide Thecompounds are relatively cheap and effective(HERC 2012)ndividuals responsible for destroying or decontaminating evidence should consult state regulations andthe crime laboratory before deciding on an appropriate and safe method for destroyingdecontaminating evidence More information on biological evidence dispodedechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation8

CONTENTSRetaining Biological Evidence………Biological Evidence Safety and HandlingI

Tracking Biological Evidence Chain of custodyv Biological Evidence Dispositionary of reAppendix A: Evidence Tracking and Management Systems: Functions, Capabilitiesand Reports to be Considered when Acquiring a New SystemAppendix B: List of Evidence Retention LawsAppendix C: Sample Chain-of-Custody ReportG57Works Citedechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

FIGURESFiCollectif evidence frBiohazard labelFigure II-I: Metal lockers used for evidence dryingigure -3: Room designated for drying evidencee -4: Commercial drying unit

Evidence stored in bags-6: Evid0: Sexual askits storracially manufactured evidence lockers4: Modified residential refrigeratorCommercial evidence refrigeratorial refrigerator/freezer20:SaExample of a final dispositiequest folmary of process steps involved in biological evidence dispositigure V-3: Biohazard disposal bagABLESblles of Sources of Biological Evidencey of Biologicance reon Guidelines for Crime CategoriblCondable IV-I: Notification Schedule for Pursuing Overdue EvidenceableProperty Manual Standard OperatingHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK

NTRODUCTIONce that has bedestroyed Often the blame for these mishaps is directed toward property and evidence custodiansoused in law enforcement agencies nationwide many law enforcement agencies doe, or supportorts of their property rooms Although these agencies bearthe evidence the relection through final disposition This failure reducesthe public's confidence in the criminal justice system to produceesults in criminal and cividingsBiological evidence refers to samples of biological material-such as hair, tissue, bones, teeth blocemen, or other bodily fluids--or to evidence items containing biaterial (DNA Initiative 20his biological eve which maty not have been previously analyzed at a forensic laboratory,be retainedfor fovidence is frequently essential in linking someone to or excluding someone from crime scene evidencee criminal justice system depends on presenting evidence to judges and jurors to help them reach aidence they are considering has been properly preserved, processed, storeg&enforcement officers, lawyers, forensic analysts, and fact finders, should be certain that the biologicalcontaminationividuals who come into contactwith biological evidence, such as evidence custodians, need to be confident that it has been packaged andlabeled in a way that will allow them to efficiently locate relevant evidence for a case

To establish thidlers of biological evidence should follow well-defined procedures for its optimalcervatiThe Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook offers guidance for individuals involved in the collection,xamination, tracking, packaging, storing, and disposition of biological evidence This may include crimeforcement officers, healthcare professionals, forensic scientists, forensics, property managers,dwyerrt staIse whoe in contact with biologicalthe recommendations relate to the physical storage, preservation, and trackirof evidence at the storage facility, this handbook also covers the transfer of the material between thestorage facility and other locations and discusses how the evidence should be handled at these otherlogical evidence storage, tracking, preservation, and disposition a glossary, which provides standardf the technical terms used in this report, follows these seRETAINING BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCost statesthat high-level guidarregarding the circumstder which evidence must be kes section defines recommendedforof time such evidkept It also provides guidance on identifying what biological evidence should be retainedBIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE HAZARDS AND HANDLINGused by bloodborne pathogens, andechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

protective equipment(PPE), Federal standards, the management of spills or accidents, and biologicalwaste disposaPACKAGING AND STORING BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCe use of well-defined procedures for packaging, storing, and tracking cattain biological evidencece often faceand location of the storage facility, supplies available for packaging, adequacy of tracking systemand resources, and other issues this section identifies current best practicesackaging to final dispositionCHAIN OF CODY AND EVIDENCE TRACKINGrate and complcourt is what was collected at the crime scene An accuracustody identifies and tracks theevidence from the time it was collected-itheby which it was obtainedthrough finalposition for each individual who hadhis section didence tracking systems and recommends procedures to improve all aspects of chain-of-custodyNCE DISPOSrisdiction face limitations because of storage space and preservation requirements and must makechoices about wheimpose of certadence this section makesrecommendations for best practices, policies, and procedures to decide what evidence needs to behe length of time it needs to be retaitaccordanceECHNICAL WGGCAL EVIDENCE Pdated by any governing body; they are provided asecommended best practices developed and agreed upon by the Technical Working Group on Biologicaleservation(see following list) who have devoted time to researching and documenting the best adviethat current technology allowsgoal to provide guidance to evidence custodians who have been traditionally plagued by the lack of suchguidance

Little attention has been paid to how handlers of biological evidence should properly store itlection and througonditions alone are a major issue thegroup quickly discovered that obstacles with biological evidence that need to be addressed to ensureegrity include packaging, proper maintenance and tracking throughout its chain of custodyappropriate disposition, and policies at the state, local, and departmental levelough these analyses and discoveries, the Technical Working Group developed its charge: "To createbest practices and guidance to ensure the integrity, prevent the loss, and reduce the prematurether two years The working greich each member had an opportuable to reach substantial agreement on most issues, including formal recorOverall, the document is the working group's best attempt at providing practicaladdressing some of the broader issanagement The storage ofical evidenceTHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK

deration, albeit a critical one, in a larger system of evidence stohas put forward some recommendations that can also be applied to other fereport, howevbiological eeretore, the groupe working group hopes that this document is useful in addressing the needs of its readers andhttp://wwwnistgovloles/toobtainmoreresourcestohelpyoganization better preserve itsbiologicaMEMBERSHIPSusan Ballou, Program Manager of Forensic Sciences, Law Enforcement Standards Office(OLES)of Standards and Technology(NIST)Phylis s Bamberger, Judge(Retired), Task Force on Wrongful Convictions, New York State Baratos/Monte serence departmentRebecca Brown Director of state Policy ReformYvette Burney, Commanding Officgation DiLos Angeles Police DepartmentDennis Davenport, Senior Crime Scene Investigator, Commerce City Police DeparLindsay DePalma, Contractor, Office of Investigative and Forensic Science, National Institute ofCynthia Jones, Associate Professor of Law, American UniversityKeaton, Executive Director, American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/LaboratoryWilliam Kiley, Deputy Police Chief (Retired), Immediate Past President, InternatAssociation fo(IAPE)argaret Kline, Research Biologist, Biomolecular Measurement Division, NKaren Lanning, Chief, Evidence Control Unit, Federal BGerry LaPorte, Program Manager, Office of Investigative and Forensic Sciencesoseph Latta, Police Lieutenant(Retired), Executive Director, Lead Instructorda e Ledray, Director, Resource Center, Sexual Assault Nurse ExaminerRandy nagy, U

S Market Development Manager, LGC ForensicBrian E Ostrom, Criminalist 4, Portland Metro Forensic Laboratory, Oregon State Policesa schwind Unit head forensic service and education office of the public defender state ofSteplloff senior Police Bureau commander Forensic Services Bureau, miami-Dade policeMark stolorow Director OLES NISechnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

Shannan Williams, Project Leader, Associate(Booz Allen Hamilton), OLES, NISMelissa Taylor, Study Director, OLES, NISJennifer L Smitherical Editor, Science Applications International CorporSwarr Research Assistant Booz Allen hamiltonACKNOWLEDGEMENTSological Evidence Preservation gratefulollowing individuals for their contributions to the development and review of this handbook Reviewersprovided constructive suggestions but were not asked to approve or endorse any conclusions orcommendations in the draft handbook Responsibility for the final content of this handbook rests witlthe members of the working groProfessor

UniRockon Forensic/Cold Case Consultant DNARockd Hunt Chief trial attorrland, Subject Matter Expert in Automated Identification Technologies(AIm), Booz Allen HamiltPaul Jones", Working Group Program Manager for Forensic Sciences, OLES,Dan Katz", Deputy Director, Maryland State Crime Laby, InnocenceSubject Matter ExiKenneth Melson, Professional Lecturer in Law, George Washington University Law SchoolMitch Morrissey, District Attorney, Derstice Coulogical Program CoordMichigan State PolAltaf Rahamatulla, Policy Analyst, Innocence ProjectPeter Vallone", Research Chemist, Biomolecular Measurement Division, NISSPONSORSHIPeedicated to researchinevidence-based knowledge and tools to meet the challenges of crime and justice the office ofvestigative and forc Sciences is the federal government's lead agency for foreesearch and development as well as for thetrationthat provide directases, to provide needed training in new technologies, and to provide suppprovement Grantswith DNA, Post-Conviction DNA Testing Assistance, National Missing and Unidentified Persons Systemand Forensic science training develonon-regulatory agency of the Department of Commerce, the National Institute of Standards andechnology(NIST) promotes US innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurementTHE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK

cience, standards, and technology in ways that enhance eove。uraeese actionsy through thetandards Office (OLES)h directseffortsperformance standards, measurement tools, operatingadvance the field of foOLESes the broadey throughpromulgation of standards in protective systems; detection, enforand counterterrorism and response technologies

echnical Working Group on Biological Evidence Preservation

RETAINING BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCis section provides guidancethe premature destruction of biological evidection focusesbice may be applico civil cases and proceedings This section includes theidance regarding biolological evidenceertain crime categocommendations on the retention of biological evidence for different case statusesases has benefitsall members of the criminal justice system As the identification power of DNA evidence is recognizedclear that crime-solving potential residesider the legal and poland should establish procedurebe the type and length of time for which evidence should beretained for each type ofAlthough most states already have legislation that dictates whichcategories of crime qualify for long-term storage of biological evidence, some jurisdictions havevithin property and evidence rooms

For those statesand localities in which there is limited or vague guidance or in which stakeholders are reconsideringrequirements, the working group recommends the following retention considerations and requirementsRecommendationAll persons who havebility for the intake and/or storage and disposition of biolshould take online, in -classroom or other forms of traiDENTIFYING BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCtheir definitions of what constitutesdencedence retention a review of the national institute of justi) list of items from whicliological evidence can be found for criminal cases illustrates theof items that can be successfullyested with current technology Further, touch DNA, or DNAed in shed skin cells that transto surfaces that humans touch, can be sampled from countless objects and surfaces(Daly, Murphy, andDermott 20However, requiring the retention of all physical evidence thatpotentially contaiof all evidences screened to determine theenetic materialfore, this handbook's recommendations attempt to balance the interests ofjustice with practicable storage concerns and to offer a minimum threshold for biological evidenceretention The table below describes different types of evidence that can contain biological evidence,HE BIOLOGICAL EVIDENCE PRESERVATION HANDBOOK