Police reunite property with ownersThe term “property” in police language means, “any item of value that has been separated from the owner.” Police collect the property and try to reconnect it with the owner. Sometimes the property is found during a search, or it is found abandoned; I continued to be amazed at the sheer number of abandoned bicycles that are found.
By: Gordon Ramsay, for the Duluth Budgeteer News
The term “property” in police language means, “any item of value that has been separated from the owner.” Police collect the property and try to reconnect it with the owner. Sometimes the property is found during a search, or it is found abandoned; I continued to be amazed at the sheer number of abandoned bicycles that are found.
When property is located and the initial responding officers are unable to locate the owner, the property is stored at City Hall. Property technicians then attempt to match the property to the owners. Unfortunately, we are not able to locate the owners in many cases, and the items are then sold at auction.
Five years ago our property room was bulging at the seams. We were simply unable to keep up with the ever-increasing amount of property that was coming in and we had literally run out of room. We either had to change our practices or begin renting space to store the excess property.
Failure to change the way we were operating would have resulted in spending more on personnel, transportation costs, and rent. We chose to change our operating procedure. Rather than assigning an employee to put together our own police auction for three to four months, we signed on with a company called propertyroom.com.
Once a month, propertyroom.com retrieves all property for which we are unable to identify the owners. We also changed our ordinance, which allowed us to send property to auction after 30 days of retention; it had previously had been much longer.
Lastly, we were so far behind on property- and evidence clearing that we needed to find additional personnel to work on this task. We applied for a federal grant and were awarded two evidence technician positions with salary and benefits covered at 100 percent.
With the additional staff and procedural changes, we have made unbelievable progress. We can now see walls and floors where only loads of property were once located. We now have about half the property and evidence that we had prior to these changes.
We spend a lot of time trying to reunite property with owners. We encourage you to keep serial numbers and engrave items with your full name for easy identification. Make sure you report thefts involving your property.
On another note, I was at the capitol Thursday with Representative Gauthier once again testifying for an increase in the penalties for automobile burglaries. Currently, if you get caught breaking into a car, it is only a misdemeanor (unless there is an aggravating factor).
We continue to see repeat offenders committing this crime with little consequence due to the weakness of the law. Despite a lot of arrests we still saw an increase in reported car burglaries, up substantially in 2011 over 2010. Many police departments throughout the state saw this same trend, and dozens of Minnesota police chiefs have supported our efforts to increase the penalties associated with this crime.
Lastly, you will be seeing less and less of the Ford Crown Victoria police cars. Ford recently stopped making the Crown Vic and has moved their police pursuit-rated versions to the Taurus and Explorer models. Dodge stepped it up this year and redesigned its Charger, improving visibility and redesigning the rear end to look more like the early 1970s Charger. We have eight new Dodges ready to replace some old Crown Vics that are tired and running well over 100,000 miles.
And, this year, Chevy has brought back the Caprice for police use only. It looks like the Impala but a fair amount larger and faster and, unfortunately it is more expensive. The Caprice is made in Australia and shipped all the way here, making it the most expensive of the police models. It is coming in about five thousand dollars more than the Ford and Dodge police models.
That’s all for now. Remember to keep an eye out for suspicious activity and report it immediately to 911. We would rather have a call turn out to be nothing, than to miss an opportunity to catch a crook!
Contact Duluth Police Chief Gordon Ramsay at 730-5020 or email@example.com.