Fitting solution for a smelly situation - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Fitting solution for a smelly situation

Seized drug money to be used to ventilate evidence room

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Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012 12:15 am

COEUR d'ALENE - The joke goes, officers suddenly get hungry around 4 in the afternoon.

More like a sweet tooth, and after being anywhere near the Coeur d'Alene Police Department's evidence room, the men and women in blue will suddenly find themselves running from the office to nearby Super 1 Foods to buy chocolate pudding and the like.

"It's just too much," said Police Sgt. Christie Wood on the stench, and the cravings it can produce.

Because the first part of the joke is the evidence room itself: More specifically the storage unit where officers stash confiscated drugs doesn't ventilate well, so if law enforcement makes a big bust, the whole building will smell it.


"It just gives you a headache," said Louise Martin, property officer with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department, giving a tour of the evidence room on Tuesday, which smelled a lot like marijuana. "I would say the most common drug is marijuana."

Unfortunately for police, the evidence room ventilation system was designed that the air there basically circulates around the building, "a design flaw," as Wood put it, that has been around since officers moved to the site off Schreiber Way around 15 years ago.

Same can be said for the drying rooms, which sit adjacent to the evidence room and are the spots that officers dry out the pot they seize because the product must be dried before it's sorted and documented. Bigger pot busts can take 10 days to dry out, so that's a lot of time for officers trying to get work done to take in tainted air.

"I think everyone's just kind of gotten used to it over the years," Wood said.

Jokes aside, and there are plenty of them, officers like Wood have altered their schedules at times to get out of the office when the air is "thick," as officers say. While marijuana is the most common, other drugs can reek, too, such as meth, which it can smell like soiled kitty litter.

Call it poetic justice, but Police Chief Wayne Longo has found the perfect solution.

After visiting the evidence room recently to drop off some products, he noticed how bad the room really smelled. Now, he's aiming to use seized drug money to pay for a new ventilation system that would pump that evidence room air straight out of the building without circulating it around nearby desks.

Bye-bye loaded odor.

"It's the perfect utilization," Longo said of using drug-money to fix the problem drugs created.

The department has about $50,000 in seized cash, and is pitching $10,000 of it for the new air system. The department always puts seized money into investigation and enforcement programs, and has purchased equipment for its drug task force with it before, such as long rifles, cell phones and radios.

While the annual seized cash amount varies, drug violations are always an issue. In 2011, the department responded to 770 drug-related offenses, according to their annual statistics.

But it's the latest proposed purchase, which goes before the City Council for approval Tuesday, that will save a lot of headaches, not to mention retire a lot of old jokes.

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  • DeNiles posted at 3:20 pm on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    This is weird. Sounds like a real expensive solution to a simple problem. How often do they have massive drug busts? There are industrial desiccants that could be used to hasten the drying process and they absorb odors too. There are fans and windows. There are portable ovens with vents for less $$$$. This reminds me of the expensive portable cop bungalow in the park. Somehow the answer chosen always seems to be the most expensive option.

  • the floorist posted at 9:03 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    the floorist Posts: 331

    Those plastic food saver vacu-seal thingys not only help prevent freezer burn...
    ...but also keeps odors inside the

    $10,000 to put in a vent? Do you cops need a $10,000 piece of carpet for your evidence room too?

  • chouli posted at 7:40 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    chouli Posts: 1294

    here's an about LEGALIZING marijuana and STOP arresting citizens and storing marijuana in thier building.Talk about the massive the whole court system and jail system and free up the LE to do actual crime fighting...

    Legalize it
    Tax it
    and stop the nonsence.

  • cococo posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    cococo Posts: 148

    Does sound like a contact high.

  • Flash Gordon posted at 7:04 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    Flash Gordon Posts: 1686

    Wait a this article suggesting that our city's finest are possibly getting stoned while on the job because of a "design" flaw?

  • SHAFT posted at 4:08 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    SHAFT Posts: 16

    ummmmm local....... that's what the new pump is going to do.

  • local res posted at 3:47 am on Wed, Jul 11, 2012.

    local res Posts: 1165

    what a waste of money just vent the dam smell to the outside.

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