The Stephenville Police Department, like most law enforcement agencies, considers the care and control of property and evidence to be a very high priority in policing. In order to control this process as effectively and efficiently as possible, S.P.D. funnels all property or evidence associated with a crime to one central location for processing and storing: the Property
The Stephenville Police Department Property Unit is a one person unit in the Operations Bureau. It is responsible for the direct control, inventory and security of all property recovered by the department and all evidence generated during the investigation of a crime. The Property
Unit is staffed entirely by civilians just like the Records Unit and the Communications
Unit. The staff members are trained in police procedures to ensure that all items processed by the Property
Unit are handled under strict standards which will stand even the closest scrutiny.
The items processed through the Property Unit are broken down into two basic classifications: property or evidence. Property is generally an item which is stolen then recovered by a citizen or police officer, or an item which is simply found by a citizen and reported to the police department. The Stephenville Police Department recovers
hundreds of pieces of property each year, including bicycles, tools and equipment, sporting goods, stereo equipment, and
When property comes to the Property Unit, it is booked into a secure area for safekeeping while the Officers attempt to find the rightful owner. In some cases the property is easily traced to the owner and released in a matter of days. In many other cases, no information exists to begin a search, so the property may sit in the Property room unclaimed. According to the Code of Criminal Procedure the property only has to be held for a total of 30 days if there is no known owner. If the owner of the said property is known, noticed must be sent to the “last known address” by certified mail. If the property is not claimed within 90 days the Stephenville Police Department has the right to destroy, convert or auction the property in compliance with State and Federal laws.
Literally hundreds of property items go unclaimed each year. If you believe that you may have property stored in our Property room, you may contact the Property
Unit at (254) 918-1266 to inquire about procedures for finding or claiming your lost or stolen items. The Property room is open for calls or to return property from 9:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. In
order to claim your property, you will need to produce a serial number or proof of purchase, such as a receipt, for items such as: stereo equipment or handheld electronics. It is up to the Property room technicians discretion whether you will be required to bring in another form of ownership. If you cannot provide proof of ownership and feel that the item is legally yours then you will need to request an Ownership Hearing
from the Justice of the Peace. Their office can be reached at
The second classification of items handled by the Stephenville Property Unit is Evidence. An item is considered to be evidence if it relates, in some form, to the commission of a crime which is currently under investigation. Photographs, latent fingerprints, drugs, weapons, and money are examples of common types of evidence booked in with the Property
Evidence, due to the nature of how it is used in an investigation and scrutinized at trial, is handled in a slightly different manner than property. Chain of custody (documentation of who examines, handles, or takes possession of an item) is strictly monitored, and the items are kept secured in the department's primary vault where entry is very restricted. These measures are necessary to protect and control a large inventory of illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia, and a wide selection of firearms and weapons.
Evidence is maintained in the Property Division at the discretion of the Property Divisions personnel and investigators until a case reaches a conclusion. The evidence is then returned to the rightful owner, destroyed in compliance with state and federal laws, or used by the department in the course of investigation and fighting crime.