Safety Shower for Storage, a necessary tip?

Catching up on some unread emails when I stumbled on a real gem. I know this tip is serious and there is an important reason for it. But you would think that common sense should dictate don’t store police evidence in a lab safety shower.

Yet that is, or was, the tip of the day on Forensic Magazine’s email newsletter on Friday.

Safety shower in a Lab

Safety Shower in a Lab

Now if this was a tip of the day, I automatically asume that means someone did it. Meaning that at some police department or at some crime lab, evidence was stored under the safety shower.

For anyone unfamiliar with safety showers, they are installed in areas where chemicals are used as a safety feature. If a spill or accident happens the victim can stand under the shower head and pull the big easy to find handle. A deluge of water then pours down on the victim. Hopefully decontaminating them from the chemical spill.

Anyone who has worked around these knows two things about them. First the eventually will develop a small leak, just like any plumbing. Second someone will bump into the safety shower and set it off.

In todays society everyone seems so well educated on the value of forensic evidence, after watching endless re-runs of CSI. Heck college researchers even coined a term the “CSI effect” to explain the growth in awareness of forensic evidence.

At the PD we talk about this CSI Effect every so often. We constantly talk about how the first responding officer needs to make sure not to do anything that might contaminate the evidence. The supervisors talk about how the public expects us to be doing all these CSI skills, so we should make sure to take a few photos and collect some evidence.

So now I have to ask, who is keeping evidence in the safety shower. I know most departments are tight on space, but to risk destroying something as important as forensic evidence?