Montezuma evidence locker needs relocation

Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017 12:05 AM
Steve Nowlin

If the Montezuma County justice building sells, Sheriff Steve Nowlin will need to find a new location for the office’s evidence locker.

The department’s evidence room contains thousands of items, he said Friday.

Montezuma County Commissioners voted Jan. 30 to put up for sale the building, which also houses county courtrooms, the probation department and The Bridge Emergency Shelter.

Nowlin said he’s shopping around for a new evidence storage location.

“I have to have it,” he said. “I have no room anywhere else, period.”

Nowlin discussed the issue with the commissioners at their Feb. 13 meeting, but they did not make a decision about relocating the storage area or assisting the sheriff with the process.

Evidence in the locker dates back decades, and the department is required to keep it, Nowlin said.

The current evidence storage area is about 1,500 square feet and is climate-controlled with water and electricity, Nowlin said. He’s looking for a slightly larger new facility, between 1,800 and 2,000 square feet, he said.

“We have to plan for the future,” he said.

Moving the items would be costly and time-consuming, Nowlin said. He would prefer to have the evidence custodian alone deal with the items so the evidence is kept secure and the chain of custody is intact, he said. However, that would be a large amount of work for one person, he added.

“We’re trying to move forward, and we’ll get things done,” Nowlin said. “It’s inevitable that things change, but we’ll do the best we can.”