This article is over 13 years old


New Property Room Erases Police Problems of Past

After years of dealing with a cramped and outdated evidence storage facility, the Houston Police Department has a new property room. The new 50-thousand square foot facility replaces the one built back in the 70s. It has the most modern security features to efficiently house evidence. Pat Hernandez was on hand for the ribbon cutting.



To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:

<iframe src="" style="height: 115px; width: 100%;"></iframe>

The new Houston Police Department Property Room on Washington just west of downtown, is adjacent to the old one it replaces. Mayor Bill White says the facility will help keep our city safe while insuring fairness to those accused of crime.

“Prosecutors and those who investigate crimes, and those who are witnesses to crime, find that having evidence of crime that has a proper chain of custody that’s been properly stored that could be retrieved when ready for trial, is indispensable. It ensures those suspects accused of crime, or those convicted who have remedy to post judgment, remedies provided under habeas corpus, that they have evidence that could be fairly used by those who seek to defend.”

Mayor White says the 13.2-million dollar property room is part of a massive capital and technology improvement program that’s being undertaken to assure Houston has the most productive, professional police force in  the country.

“That’s a nightmare; this is a dream come true.”

That’s Police Chief Harold Hurtt. He has a wish for what he’d like to see happen to the soon-to-be vacated old property room.

“One of the things that I would really like to see happen to the old building there is to be torn down and replaced with a new, independent DNA lab, a crime lab. And all they have to do is punch a hole in the wall, and be able to transfer evidence from the DNA lab right into property here and really maintain custody, and have it in place for court.”

After the ribbon cutting, Hurtt presented the first piece of evidence to be stored that pertains to an on-going robbery investigation. Amenities in the new property room include high-density shelving and climate control features, like a giant freezer to maintain evidence. Hurtt was asked what assurances were in place to eliminate a repeat of problems that plagued the inadequate storing of evidence in the past.

“In every case, the primary issues that you want to look out for when you have property: drugs, money, guns.And we have built in a system here to protect all three. And not only from the facility standpoint, but also our processes, our procedures and accountability. This is really a giant step forward in ensuring that the public and the criminal justice system can have confidence in HPD.”

Each piece of property will be tagged with a radio frequency to allow easy access and retrieval without moving another object.

Pat Hernandez, KUHF Houston Public Radio News. 

Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.