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A Better Long-term Solution

Calgary is the fastest growing city in Canada and is home to over a million residents. While population growth can be positive in many ways, it also has a downside: cities with more people tend to experience more crime, and rapid growth can strain public services.

This was the case with the Calgary Police Service, which was struggling with storage issues as more evidence accumulated. The service eventually rented a warehouse to hold property and evidence, and although the warehouse was accredited, it was relatively distant from police headquarters. Over time the rent and the costs associated with driving to and from the warehouse added up to a significant expense.

In 2013 department leadership decided it was time to start looking for a more appropriate and cost-effective long-term solution for evidence storage. A team consisting of personnel from property and evidence, finance, and infrastructure services began researching options for a new warehouse that was suited to their specific needs and that could accommodate future growth. They decided that a vacant lot adjacent to police headquarters would provide the ideal opportunity to create a centralized, purpose-built facility for property and evidence storage.

Two Space Saving Solutions

The Calgary Police Service chose two different Spacesaver systems to make the most efficient use of limited space.

ActivRAC® Mobilized Storage System

Ideal for large and/or heavy items, the heavy-duty ActivRAC system maximizes space in industrial settings and is also used in evidence warehouses. The system eliminates wasted aisle space by mounting pallet racking on a carriage-and-rail system. The aisles open at the point of need and are wide enough to allow forklifts to operate.

XTend® High-Bay Storage System

The XTend system, available in stationary (non-moving) or mobile (rail-mounted) applications, makes the most efficient use of vertical space. This system is best suited for storing standard box sizes.

In order to learn more about the systems’ capacity, design, and operation, the team called in the local Spacesaver consultant. He listened carefully to their concerns and helped design a layout that would not only make the most effective use of the available space, but that would also help the department maintain its accreditation.

ActivRAC eliminates wasted aisle space

ActivRAC eliminates wasted aisle space by mounting pallet racking on a carriage-and-rail system. The rows of racking sit side-by-side until evidence warehouse staff open an aisle to store or retrieve evidence. Ideal for evidence that is large and/or heavy, the most robust version of ActivRAC can bear loads of up to 30,000 pounds per carriage section.

Badge-swipe Access

Badge-swipe access provides an additional layer of security to specified aisles that store evidentiary weapons. This added security is required to maintain accreditation.

XTend Mobile System

Evidence in standard boxes is stored on an XTend® Mobile High-Bay Storage System. The XTend system moves along rails and extends toward the ceiling to make the most efficient use of both horizontal and vertical space.

Staff Use Lifts

Evidence warehouse staff use lifts to gain access to the upper reaches of the XTend system. Spacesaver can advise on selecting lifts and in planning for lift charging stations and other space concerns.

An Enduring Solution

The new warehouse opened in 2017. It has a variety of space-saving features that improve organization and ensure a secure chain of custody. In addition, because the stored evidence takes up less space, the department was able to design and build a smaller building than they had originally thought was necessary. This resulted in lower construction costs as well as lower ongoing operating costs, particularly those associated with heating and cooling.

The group brought in the local Spacesaver consultant early in the design process. He helped them assess their storage needs and think about future considerations. He also partnered with Spacesaver’s headquarters in Wisconsin, USA, to advise the architect on load-bearing concerns, the size of the system, floor rail placement, and other considerations, and his input was invaluable as the architect drew up the plans.

To learn more call our office at 410-472-0824 or email

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