Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services


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TITLE: Search And Seizure


Authorized employees may initiate search and seizure procedures with any offender within the scope of the employee's responsibilities, assigned to the District's supervision, when appropriate and necessary to accomplish the goals and objectives of the District.

Signs shall be posted in all District buildings informing offenders and visitors that they are subject to search and seizure of contraband or illegal items while on the District's premises.

Authorized employees shall be trained annually in search and seizure procedures.


  1. Offenders and visitors entering District's buildings may be subject to search and seizure when there is reasonable suspicion to believe the offender/visitor poses a threat to District personnel and/or there is a reasonable belief that the offender/visitor is in possession of illegal contraband which includes, but is not limited to: guns, knives, drugs, drug paraphernalia, etc…
    1. The employee must consult with his/her Supervisor and inform the Supervisor of the circumstances.
    2. The Supervisor will contact the Fugitive Unit or local law enforcement to assist in the search, if available.
    3. Authorized employees, with supervisory approval, may proceed with the search with the assistance of other authorized employees.
    4. If contraband and/or illegal items are found, supervising officers must confiscate the contraband/illegal items and place the offender in custody (see arrest policy), if deemed necessary for safety purposes, and request the immediate assistance of his/her immediate supervisor, the Fugitive Unit, or local law enforcement.
    5. The Fugitive Unit or local law enforcement will determine if charges shall be filed.
  2. Supervising officers shall NOT search any home, vehicle, or person without probable cause or approval of his/her supervisor. While conducting home visits, supervising officers may request a tour of an offender's living quarters. In doing so, viewing the contents of refrigerators and closets. Plain view non-invasive searches may be conducted for the purposes of establishing compliance with the conditions of supervision.
  3. If the supervising officer has reasonable suspicion that an offender assigned to the District's supervision has possession of contraband/illegal items that would be in violation of supervision conditions, local, state or federal laws, he/she will:
    1. Consult with his/her Supervisor and inform the Supervisor of the circumstances.
    2. Request permission of the offender to search his/her home, vehicle, or person.
    3. If permission is granted, the supervising officer will complete a Consent to Search form. The permission must specify the area(s) to be searched, the form must be signed by the offender, and witnessed by the supervising officer.
    4. If permission is withdrawn at any time during the search, the supervising officer will STOP SEARCHING immediately.
    5. If permission is denied, the supervising officer will NOT search.
    6. If contraband or illegal items of substance are found, STOP, place the offender in custody (See Arrest Policy) if deemed necessary for safety purposes, and request assistance from the immediate supervisor, Fugitive Unit or local law enforcement immediately.
    7. G. The Fugitive Unit and/or local law enforcement will determine if charges shall be filed.
  4. A supervising officer who views contraband and/or illegal items in plain view within the offender's home, vehicle, or person of an offender assigned to the District in violation of conditions, local, state or federal laws, the supervising officer shall:
    1. EXIT the premises immediately if officer safety is a concern.
    2. The supervising officer will consult with his/her immediate Supervisor and inform the Supervisor of the circumstances.
    3. The supervising officer will contact the Fugitive Unit or local law enforcement to secure the area to be searched.
      1. The supervising officer may place the offender in custody (See Arrest Policy) if deemed necessary for safety purposes.
    4. The Fugitive Unit and/or local law enforcement shall consult with the County Attorney and with approval from him/her, complete an application for search warrant which will be presented to a Judge. The supervising officer may be used as the witness/informant to assist them in obtaining the search warrant.
    5. If a Judge finds probable cause and orders a search warrant, the supervising officer will allow the Fugitive Unit or law enforcement to execute the search warrant and maintain any seized property.
    6. With approval from the supervisor, Fugitive Unit, and local law enforcement, the supervising officer may assist with the search allowed by the search warrant.
  5. If the supervising officer received information that an offender under supervision of the District is in possession of illegal items in violation of the District's conditions, or local, state or federal laws, the officers shall:
    1. Consult with his/her immediate supervisor and inform the supervisor of the circumstances.
    2. Forward all information to the Fugitive Unit to investigate.
  6. All property confiscated by members of the Fugitive Unit will be inventoried on the current 5th Judicial District evidence form/receipt.
    1. A copy of the form/receipt will be provided to the person found in possession or control of the property
    2. The chain of custody will be maintained on the form/receipt.
    3. All confiscated property will be placed in the department's evidence room.
    4. Confiscated property placed in the evidence room will be recorded by case number of the arrest or the appropriate ICON number on the evidence room inventory log.
  7. Searches of the offender for safety purposes.
    1. Search of the offender prior to arrest. The purpose of this type of search is to locate weapons and prevent the destruction of evidence. At the time of arrest, the officer has the right to search the arrested offender and his/her surroundings at "arm's length". At "arm's length is defined as that area within the immediate reach of the offender, when under the custody and control of the officer, that the offender can reach for the purpose of obtaining a weapon or destroying evidence. The officer shall:
      1. Inform the offender the intention of arrest.
      2. Inform the offender of the reason for the arrest.
      3. Inform the offender that the arresting person is a peace officer.
      4. Place handcuffs on the offender preventing escape and risk of harm to the officer and offender.
      5. Place the offender in an off-balance position by requiring them to spread their feet apart, lean forward bending at the waist, and place their head against a solid object such as a car, a fence, a wall, etc.
      6. The supervising officer must ask the offender if he/she has any sharp items/needles on his /her person that might injure the officer
      7. Pat down the exterior clothing of the offender to feel for any weapons or contraband. If weapons or contraband are suspected, a more complete search of the person may be conducted which consists of searching inner clothing, pockets, handbags and the like. Weapons or contraband found as a result of the search shall be seized.
    2. Search by person of the same sex. If at all possible, the officer shall request the assistance of an officer who is the same sex as the offender to perform the search. In some cases, an officer who is the same sex as the offender will not be readily available. In that case, the arresting officer may proceed with the search. However, the officer shall be cautiously aware of the possibility of accusations of sexually related misconduct from the offender and should use reasonable judgment in the search.
  8. The Miranda Warning/Waiver shall be given and verification established by signature in the event of a new offense. The Miranda form may be executed immediately, or prior to any questioning regarding the new offense. (See Policy)
  9. Procedures for items to be used in court as evidence.
    1. When items have been seized which are going to be used in court as evidence, the officer has to establish and maintain a chain of evidence for each item. The officer has to maintain sole possession (District's property room) and control of the evidence and may only provide the item to another person while maintaining a written chain of evidence.
    2. Evidence needing laboratory testing can be handled through local law enforcement authorities upon request.
  10. Disposal or return of seized items.
    1. All confiscated property placed in the evidence room shall remain there pending final disposition of the case involving the property.
    2. Any confiscated property determined to be contraband or dangerous weapons will be disposed of after 30 days following final disposition.
    3. Confiscated property that is registered to or owned by a person(s) other then the offender may be claimed by that person(s) within that 30 day time period by filing a written claim for the property along with proof of ownership.
  11. After the search and seizure, the supervising officer shall complete an Incident Report (on the District's web page) to his/her supervisor detailing the events leading up to the search, the items seized, and the chain of evidence.
  12. The Supervisor and the supervising officer shall conduct a post-search review to ensure that the search was conducted properly.
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