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Property & Evidence

The Atascadero Police Department division of Property and Evidence exists as a function of the Investigations Unit. Property and Evidence personnel are responsible for all property taken in and released from the department, as well as for preparing evidence for court and processing crime scenes. Released property is available for pick up by appointment only during regular business hours.

Crime Scene Investigations

Property and evidence bag.

The Atascadero Police Department Property and Evidence Technician is allied with the Investigations Unit and is responsible for the collection and storage of evidence and property, including forensic or trace evidence. The Property and Evidence Technician responds to crime scenes to assist with the more complex identification and recovery of evidence. That evidence may include fingerprints, blood and semen samples, tool marks, or photographs. As even a casual viewer of the current proliferation of "CSI" television shows can attest, criminal investigations are more often demanding detailed and highly scientific crime scene investigations.

To ensure the most contemporary knowledge and skills in crime scene investigation and evidence recovery, the Property and Evidence Technician regularly attends highly specialized training seminars and maintains a membership in state and national property and evidence organizations.

Property Room

Crime scene investigations and evidence recovery are not the only functions of the Property and Evidence Technician. Equally important to the Department's integrity and the ultimate successful prosecution of a crime is the proper, safe, and secure storage of evidence which is the responsibility of the Property and Evidence Technician. Evidence is of no value in a criminal prosecution if its security and untampered condition can be questioned.

Types of Property Held

Found Property

Found property is held for a period of 90 days. If the property is unable to be returned to the rightful owner, it may be offered back to the finder. The Police Property Unit will mail a letter to the finder. A response must be made within 15 days from the date on the letter in order for the finder to be able to claim the property.

Property Held for Safekeeping

Property held for safekeeping will be retained for a period of at least 60 days. If the owner of the items is known, a letter will be mailed to the owner requiring that the owner responds by telephone within 15 days to retrieve the items. If no response is received within 15 days, the items may be disposed of in the manner prescribed by law. Firearms held for safekeeping are an exception.


How do I recover a firearm in the possession of the Atascadero Police Department?

  1. Confirm the firearm is available for release. If you have not received a letter notifying you that the firearm is releasable, please call our Property and Evidence Department at 805-470-3264 to confirm.
  2. Confirm the DOJ ownership records for the firearm is in your name, and/or file a Firearm Ownership Report (BOF 4542A) application with the Department of Justice. Every firearm must be registered prior to release.
  3. Complete a Law Enforcement Release Application (BOF 119) with the California Department of Justice to determine your eligibility to possess the firearm.
  4. Upon issuance of a DOJ firearm clearance letter, make an appointment with the Property and Evidence Division by calling 805-470-3264.
  5. Present your clearance letter at the appointment with photo government identification within 30 days of the clearance letter. If an appointment is made after 30 days of the clearance letter, a new Law Enforcement Release Application must be submitted.
  6. If you have any questions about the process of retrieving a firearm, please contact the Evidence Specialist at 805-470-3264

What is the Law Enforcement Release (LER) Program, and how do I submit an application?

You must follow the Law Enforcement Release (LER) Program required by the State of California Department of Justice (DOJ). There are no exceptions. If the firearm is not registered to you, submit the Firearm Ownership Report at the same time.

To complete a Law Enforcement Release (LER) Application, use the California Firearms Application Reporting System (CFARS). Be sure you add the form to your cart and complete the checkout process. If you need to register the firearm be sure you add both the LER and Firearm Ownership Report to your cart before you check out.

If the court or the Atascadero Police Department determines that the firearm was reported stolen, the fee for the stolen firearm will be waived. You must send documentation from the Atascadero Police Department to DOJ confirming that the firearm was reported stolen along with the Law Enforcement Release Application to qualify for the fee waiver. There is no fee waiver for the Firearm Ownership Report.

When DOJ receives your Law Enforcement Release Application, DOJ will conduct a firearms eligibility check to determine if you are lawfully eligible to possess firearms. You will receive a notice of the results. If this notice states that you are eligible to possess firearms, you may call the Atascadero Police Department to make an appointment to claim your firearm.

The LER letter must be presented to the Atascadero Police Department within 30 days of the date of the notice. Failure to do so will result in the need to submit a new application and fees to undergo another firearms eligibility check.

Firearms will be released only to the registered owner of the firearm with valid government identification.

Firearms held for safekeeping and not claimed within 180 days are eligible for disposal in accordance with Penal Code § 33875.

What happens to my firearm if I am no longer allowed to possess them according to the Department of Justice?

If the owner is prohibited from possessing a firearm, and the firearm is not illegal, the owner may sell or transfer the firearm to a licensed firearms dealer.

What happens if I do not claim my firearm?

Once you have received notification that your firearm is eligible for release, the firearm must be retrieved within 180 days. If the firearm is not retrieved within 180 days, the firearm will be deemed abandoned and may be disposed of without further notice.

If you do not wish to obtain possession of the firearm, you may sell or transfer title to a licensed dealer in accordance with Penal Code § 33850(b).

All Other Items

Felony Arrest Cases

Evidence items will be held for a minimum of 60 days from the date of final disposition. If the owner does not claim the items at that time, they may be disposed of or destroyed in the manner prescribed by law.

Misdemeanor Arrest Cases

Evidence will be held for 30 days from the date of sentencing and then items will be disposed of or destroyed in the manner prescribed by law.

No Arrest Has Been Made and/or No Suspect identified

Evidence items may be held up to 1 year or longer depending on the status of the case.

Unclaimed Property

All unclaimed property and evidence are sold through an online auction at The proceeds from the auction are deposited into the City’s general fund. The website features a stolen property repository. It is a nationwide registry where victims may register stolen items. Sign-up is free. personnel record serial numbers of all items they receive and check these numbers against their "Stolen Property Registry."

Reclaiming Property

If you have property in the custody of the Department that you would like returned, contact the Property and Evidence Technician, Ryan Enfantino, at (805) 470-3264 first to learn if the property can be released. If the property is available for release, you can schedule an appointment to pick it up. Property is only returned Monday through Thursday, excluding holidays, from 8 am until 5 pm.

Can someone else pick up my property from the Police Department?

Yes. The owner must write a “letter of permission.” The letter should be dated and signed by the owner. It should give a specific person permission to retrieve the owner’s property. Example:

*Today’s Date

*Atascadero Police Property Unit,

*My name is John Smith. I am currently unable to retrieve my property under police report number 10-1234 due to being hospitalized, incarcerated, etc. I give permission for my Mother, Jane Smith, to retrieve my property from the Atascadero Police Property Unit.


*The person picking up the owner’s belongings should have the police report number, the original letter of permission and valid picture identification in the form of a California Driver’s License, a California Identification Card or a Passport.