December 6th, 2010 | Published in Security
Being able to correctly control evidence typically refers to the quality of the evidence in preparation for court. For example, a recording is acceptable if it reveals a cheating action or actions; enough witnesses involved to identify the criminal or show enough of the area to prove a misdeed occurred. Therefore, specific recordings are needed for this to hold up in court. Since it is the defense attorney’s job to disprove the recording all aspects must be consistent.
The integrity of the recording must be preserved and protected to prevent claims of alteration. If this does occur, the recording is inadmissible in court. To protect the evidence surveillance and corporate procedures must be adhered too. If a recording is required in a court case, the correct preservation method is to remove the tape immediately and make a copy which will be retained by the Surveillance Department.
The Gaming Control Board or a law enforcement agency must have the original. The observer that watched the misdeed unfold should make the copy. Remember, anyone that touches the recording will be called into court. Once the copy is made, the original and copy should be immediately placed in an evidence bag and sealed with tape then placed into a box. Your initials, the date and the time of sealing should be labeled on the evidence bag.
The box should contain a label with the following information:
- Time of incident
- Date from video stamp
- Name of suspect (when available)
- Type of incident
The recording will be kept in a secure location by management until needed by law enforcement agencies. The same procedure should be followed with other media forms of evidence. Proper labeling practices should be adhered to and only one individual should handle the evidence. If a state agency requests a copy of the tape, the original must be provided. The collection officer will sign the tape out and give the casino a receipt for the evidence.
Properly handling and controlling evidence is one of the most important functions of Surveillance or Security Officer. The correct procedures make many questionable court cases become airtight. It also gives the defense attorney a tough time from finding holes in the prosecution’s provided evidence. One of the most important points to keep in mind is the least number of hands touching the recording and other evidence, the better chance it will hold up in court.