Greensboro, NC-- There's an unusual overcrowding problem for the Greensboro Police Department. News 2's Liz Crawford was allowed on an exclusive tour of a room in which no member of the media has ever gone before.
The Greensboro Police Department's evidence vault is full of evidence from every unresolved case dating back to 1963 and it's running out of space. Evidence is stacked from the floor to the ceiling with guns, drugs, and even things you'd never imagine.
The process starts when officers turn in evidence they collect to Rusty Stafford, the Greensboro Police Evidence Supervisor. Stafford has seen everything.
"I've got everything from a toothbrush to a cremated body you name it, we've seen it all," said Stafford.
Right behind Stafford's office is the evidence vault. When you hear vault, you think of something small, but it's 76,000 square feet, almost the size of a big box home improvement store. Stafford told News 2 it has the highest security in the department.
No one, not even the Chief of Police can break protocol in the evidence vault. No cameras have ever captured what the inside of the vault looks like.
Inside is roughly 193,000 pieces of evidence. The oldest dates back to a 1963 unsolved homicide. They can't get rid of anything until the court gives them approval.
"Eventually we're going to reach a point where we cannot put anymore in it unless we get rid of some," said Stafford.
That's why GPD has proposed an evidence reduction strategy. The department has put a request in with the DA's office to eliminate all the evidence from misdemeanor cases. That would be 70% of the evidence being stored in the vault.
However, Stafford told News 2 they have to proceed with caution because sometimes misdemeanors turn into felonies.
They will use a case by case basis to determine what to get rid of.
WFMY News 2, Greensboro Police Department