Packaging Guidelines and Tips

**A printer-friendly tip sheet on packaging and
other submission guidelines is available.**

The JCSO Crime Laboratory does not endorse or recommend the guidelines found in the following document, but simply provides it as a resource you may find useful to review. "The Biological Evidence Preservation Handbook: Best Practices for Evidence Handlers" is a publication of the NIST Technical Working Group on Biological Evidence Handling.

General Packaging Requirements and Tips 

  • ALL Evidence packaging must be at least 6" long on one side.
    • Manila window envelopes are ideal packaging as they are both breathable and allow for viewing the contents. Paper bags, plastic zip-type bags and manila envelopes of an appropriate size are also good choices.
  • Swab boxes must be packaged inside another paper bag/envelope. 
  • Glass containers should be avoided. If necessary, they must be packaged inside another non-breakable container (paint can, plastic container) to prevent breakage. 
  • Evidence that has any suspected biohazardous material on it must be clearly marked on the outer packaging with a BIOHAZARD sticker.
  • Syringes must be packaged in clear, puncture-resistant packaging (i.e. syringe tube), and the tube should further be packaged inside a window envelope or clear plastic bag (if no BIO exams are requested).
  • All suspected PCP or butane honey oil must be packaged in arson packaging (paint can or arson bag).
  • All evidence for BIO exams must be packaged in breathable packaging (e.g paper bag, window envelope)

Sealing the Evidence

A package is properly sealed if:

  1. It prevents loss, cross-transfer or contamination of the evidence.
  2. Entering the container results in obvious damage/alteration to the container or seal.

The seal must consist of evidence tape, self-sealing evidence bags or heat seals. Please ensure when using evidence tape that the tape completely covers open seams/edges of the container.

Initials or other identification of the sealer (badge number, etc) must be ON or ACROSS the seal.