FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- It is natural to retrace one's steps when searching for lost property, but many people fail to exhaust all of Fort Rucker's available resources.

Fort Rucker's Directorate of Public Safety maintains a lost and found for items recovered across post and, according to Peggy Contreras, Fort Rucker community police supervisor, many people fail to utilize the resource.

"Lost and found is a collection of all the lost or misplaced items found on post," she said. "People will find the items and turn them in to us. Anyone who has lost or misplaced an item on post is encouraged to contact us first to see if anyone has turned the item in to DPS."

According to Contreras, individuals must provide a description of the item prior to claiming it -- the more detailed, the better.

"We want to make sure the property is returned to the proper person," she said. "Instead of just saying you lost your keys, say you lost your keys with a blue keychain or a picture of a family member attached."

Commonly lost or misplaced items brought to lost and found include cell phones, jewelry, keys, jackets and other items commonly removed or carried freely.

"People will remove their ring to wash their hands or put their cell phone down for a moment to free up their hand and forget about it," Contreras said. "That property is found and often delivered to lost and found."

Instinct typically dictates a return to the last place individuals possessed the lost or misplaced item, Contreras said, but time could be saved with a quick, initial call to DPS.

"Give us a call first," she said. "We can quickly check what we have here and possibly help find the lost or misplaced property without spending minutes or hours searching.

"Sometimes someone places something on top of their car, it falls off when they drive away and someone will find it later and turn it in to the police," she added. "People will sometimes leave things in the museum during a visit. They think to call the museum because that us where they last had it, but they never think to call the police. They can all here to see if it has been turned in to us."

According to Contreras, property is often lost or misplaced during events on post, such as Freedom Fest.

Doug Johnson, Fort Rucker police investigator, said many items remain unclaimed each year.

"We had some found property (from) last year. We advertised it and no one claimed it," he said. "It was destroyed.
"We have a board and they decide what to do with [unclaimed property]," he added. "Sometimes it is donated to charity, if it is something useful. However, some things are destroyed."

For more information or to inquire about lost or misplaced property, call 255-3239.