We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Evidence Log?

Patrick Wensink
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Evidence is a crucial part of the criminal justice system, and courts go to great lengths to prevent evidence tampering. One of the ways this is prevented is by having an evidence log. This sheet is a way for police to input data about the evidence collected, to keep track of who has checked it out and when and to assure that it is safely held until it is needed in court. This log is a piece of paperwork that is issued by the evidence department of a police department.

The evidence log can look different from one police department to the next, but each log generally has a series of similar elements that serve to protect the reliability of the evidence. No matter whether a detective is checking in a hair sample, blood, a weapon or even a car, he or she fills out the evidence log before dropping off the item. Each log asks for a list of the evidence being submitted, often requiring physical descriptions, the location found and other information. More sophisticated computerized logs actually allow for pictures of the criminal evidence to be part of the log. Each log also has a check-in and check-out area where authorized personnel, such as attorneys and police officers, can borrow the evidence for examination.

In addition, the evidence log usually includes details about the case to which the evidence is tied. Generally, a case number is assigned any time a crime is committed, and this number stays with the evidence. The type of crime usually also is listed in the evidence log and can range from theft to child custody cases to murder. These elements act as a quick reference point for anyone reviewing the evidence and are especially useful when cases have been dormant for an extended period of time.

The purpose of the evidence log is twofold. First, it is a cataloging system necessary for keeping evidence easily accessible. Depending on the size of the police department, there can be hundreds or thousands of pieces of individual evidence, and retrieving them would be impossible without a log to assign it a number and a space in the evidence room. Secondly, this is a safety precaution that provides the court system with the confidence that evidence has not been tampered with or lost. The logging system puts responsibility for keeping the evidence intact squarely on the shoulders of those who check it out, making them accountable.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink , Former Writer
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.

Discussion Comments

By whiteplane — On Jul 20, 2011

I remember there was a big story here about 15 years ago that involved police corruption in a murder case. Apparently a crooked cop had tampered with an evidence log to make it look like a piece of evidence hadn't been removed. The evidence was integral to the case. It was a pretty clumsy operation because the cop was caught and the defendant was found guilty. But this just goes to show that no system is foolproof. Even an evidence log can be tampered with when it is in the control of the police.

By chivebasil — On Jul 20, 2011

I just finished up with library school and I remember in one of my classes we discussed evidence logs. Apparently in certain large police departments and other law enforcement agencies they will hire a cataloger or someone with library training to manage and archive their evidence log in conjunction with official police personnel. This is because in some areas the length and complexity of this log is so overwhelming that it takes a trained professional to ensure that it is properly maintained. There are not a lot of these jobs, but some librarians go on to be managers of evidence. Something you would never think of.

By truman12 — On Jul 19, 2011

Anyone who has seen a cop movie or TV show in the last 30 years will likely be familiar with the evidence log. This small piece of police procedure seems to make its way into a remarkable number of plots. I think this is because there is an undeniable fascination with the tools and spoils of crime.

When we think of the evidence log we usually think of elaborate weapons and then stacks of cash or diamonds. And because we associate everything inside with crime, our imaginations inevitably develop elaborate fantasies about how wild or sordid the items will be. The evidence locker, much like a treasure room, could be filled up with anything the mind can conjure up.

So that is why I think it shows p some much on film and figures so heavily into so many story lines. People want to see whats actually inside and there is an illicit thrill in thinking about taking something. I imagine that we will see evidence rooms figure into cop stories for a long time to come.

Patrick Wensink

Patrick Wensink

Former Writer

Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
Learn more
MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.