DOT label for FedEx Kinkos™
All evidence, including unfired ammunition, is typically hand carried to the laboratory. If the delivery to the laboratory requires the shipping of evidence, the USPS will not ship unfired ammunition due to its potentially dangerous nature, requiring the use of private carriers, including the United Parcel Service (UPS) and FedEx Kinkos™, among others.
To comply with United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations, each private carrier has specific hazardous material packaging, labeling, and invoice requirements. Regardless of the fact that the shipper is a law enforcement agency or government-supported forensic laboratory, these requirements must be followed. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the agency to ensure that evidence is shipped correctly, while complying with both the government and the shippers’ current regulations.
Due to the special handling and tracking required, the shipment of unfired ammunition by private carrier most often results in additional costs. It is usually more cost-effective to ship a small amount of live ammunition by private carrier, forwarding the bulk of the evidence by other means. Laboratories must have administrative protocols in place to accommodate relating a shipment(s) to a particular case and examiner, through the requirement that an invoice is attached to the exterior of each package.