Solving Storage Challenges for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept.


Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Biological DNA Section


Los Angeles, California


The Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center is home to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Biological DNA Section. It is there where the section examines for potential DNA evidence from homicide, sexual assault, property crimes, and other types of cases. Daily activities require the use of high tech equipment and skill sets; however, criminalists and technicians must also have unhindered access to case files. Files measure 12 inches in thickness at times and are routinely passed among the various entities at the lab, as they are referenced for important cases. Recently, the section started to run out of file space in their file storage room, which is especially problematic for their line of work. This file storage room was originally a vehicle examination bay for the examination of vehicles involved in crimes. File cabinets were placed along the walls of the room. The section currently retains all of their case files—even if the perpetrator is deceased. The policy exists due to the potential for a case to be reopened or attached to another currently opened investigation. Because of this, the section stores files dating back to the 1960s. Finding the proper storage for all of these files became a burden and a challenge. To help with their file storage issue, the department purchased more and more file cabinets, but realized that eventually the cabinets would take up the entire floor space. Also, as a result of the storage issue, employees started holding on to files at their desks. While it might have been preferable for the employees, it was problematic for the organizational flow of the section. Oftentimes an employee would search for a file and not be able to find it, only later to realize that one of their coworkers was storing the file at their desk as a means of convenience. “It became a recurring theme to see “in search of” emails in our inbox from a colleague looking for a missing file,” said Sean Yoshii, Supervising Criminalist of the Scientific Services Bureau at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “At one point there were 400 files that were housed on employees’ desks instead of the file room.” There was no more room in the file room and the file count continued to increase, so the section considered stacking file cabinets on top of each other to save space. However, in order to reach the files, employees would have to use ladders, which would be dangerous. Additional concerns included the potential for seismic activity as well as building codes and safe work environments for employees. They knew that their file storage problem would grow if left unresolved. That is why they contacted McMurray Stern for assistance in finding the right answer to their storage woes.


Knowing the issues at hand, McMurray Stern developed a long-term file storage solution—not a temporary fix—for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Biological DNA Section that would fit all of their needs, both present and future. After researching the section’s situation, the McMurray Stern team realized that the best storage solution for them would be an Automated Vertical Carousel. An Automated Carousel allows vertical shelves to rotate within an enclosed unit and files are easily retrieved with the push of a button. This solution eliminated the need for stacked filing cabinets and the possibility of employees injuring themselves, while taking up less valuable floor space. The section also mentioned to McMurray Stern that the new file storage system needed to leave space for vehicle examinations. McMurray Stern knew that the model chosen was a perfect fit for the dual purpose room, as the Vertical Carousel System is ideal for spaces with high ceilings and those who want to maximize floor space. Because it is only 36 inches in depth, the section has plenty of room to also use the space as a vehicle examination bay. McMurray Stern has a license to hire subcontractors, which placed them in a unique and advantageous position of being able to complete the entire installation as a turnkey solution provider. Several phases of the project required licensed trades to perform on-site work, for example, installing a dedicated circuit for OSHA safety compliance, moving outlets from behind the shelves to the end of the vehicle examination bay, and relocating pneumatic air hoses.

Project, Public Safety
evidence, High Density File Storage, High Density Filing System, public safety, vertical carousel, vertical storage
About This Project

In addition to meeting the immediate needs of storage, the Automated Vertical Carousel System will provide the Biological DNA Section with file storage space for approximately the next 15 to 20 years.

“We are thrilled to have a great file storage system that will grow with the department,” said Robert Taylor, Assistant Director of the Scientific Services Bureau at the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department. “McMurray Stern helped us find a solution that meets our needs for today and in the future.”

McMurray Stern

McMurray Stern