Tuesday, May 26, 2009

District Takes a Stab at Building Secure Evidence Depot

The District broke ground this morning on the Metropolitan Police Department’s new Property and Evidence Warehouse at the former site of the DC Village emergency shelter at 34 DC Village Lane, SW. The $20 million, 30,000 square-foot project is being developed as a joint venture between the Office of Property Management (OPM) and Akridge Development.

The Mayor’s office is pegging the project as "state-of-the-art" with features including a "computer-automated storage system for logging and retrieval of evidence," "video event logging of transactions," "radio frequency handheld portable terminals,” and “refrigerated units for storing DNA samples.” According to the original bid, the evidence warehouse will contain roughly two million items, including “narcotics, possible biohazards, cash/valuables, guns [and] oversize items” – some of which, according to legal guidelines, must be retained for up 65 years.

Though never explicitly stated, some of the security measures lined-up for the new warehouse seem targeted at reducing the reams of missing evidence – including “$16,453 in currency, seven revolvers, one shotgun, one BB gun, one derringer, marijuana, amphetamines and cocaine” – that failed to turn up during a 2008 audit of the MPD’s present facility at 2235 Shannon Place, SE. Per Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty’s follow-up on the project’s status last February, the District also intends to cut costs by moving from the privately-owned building that they currently lease to the federally owned Southwest parcel. Several sites, including the largely abandoned St. Elizabeths Hospital in Anacostia, were bandied about before the OPM settled on the DC Village site that had itself been closed in October 2007 due to “poor living conditions.”

The District plans to have their new facility up and operational by the fall of 2010 and to qualify for, at the very least, a LEED silver certification.


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