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Meet UCPD: Property Division

UCPD Property Officers Eric Gadal and Albert Valenzuela

What happens to all the evidence our officers collect and belongings that are left behind on campus? They are under the care of our Property Division, Lead Property Officer Eric Gadal and Property Officer Albert Valenzuela.

Eric is a UCLA alumnus who provided undercover security for the loading dock at Ackerman Union before joining UCPD in 2002. Albert previously worked as a mechanic at UCLA Transportation’s Fleet Services before transferring over to UCPD, first serving as a Records Officer before joining the Property Division.

As the custodians of evidence, Eric and Albert will book anything that our officers bring in and store it until it goes to a lab to get analyzed or is investigated. Drugs are analyzed to confirm what substance they are. Guns are tested to make sure they aren’t involved in other crimes and are scanned for fingerprints.

They also manage the lost and found which holds belongings that come into the station after other locations on campus have held onto them for 90 days. Eric will try to find the owner and return the property to them if possible.

“I enjoy the times we get to help people like if I can find some way to contact somebody who's lost something special to them,” says Eric.

Those times have included returning a bag full of gymnastics medals to a preteen girl in San Diego, and contacting a family as far away as France to return a video camera filled with vacation memories.

As UCPD is a smaller police department, Eric and Albert are often tasked with duties that property officers wouldn’t ordinarily handle. One of them is taking care of the vehicle fleet where Albert’s experience as a mechanic comes in handy.

“That’s way out of the scope of our job duties,” says Albert, “but I take it on just to make sure we aren’t down patrol cars.”

The variety of tasks adds to Albert’s enjoyment of his job, along with the relationships with his colleagues.

“I like the people that I work with,” he says, “and honestly, no two days are the same.”

Eric also enjoys the company of his fellow officers, and getting a different perspective of the campus than when he was an undergrad.

“You get to see parts of UCLA and things going on at UCLA that I didn't know were going on here when I was a student,” he says. “There’s a lot of interesting things that happen on campus, and that’s what I really enjoy about working in this job.”