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Why every PD needs an evidence management system
Find out how an evidence management system will help your agency successfully pass your next evidence audit
Evidence room audits across the country continue to unearth instances of missing evidence resulting in the dismissal of criminal cases. Using logbooks or spreadsheets to manage huge volumes of evidence is no longer justifiable. An evidence management system allows an agency to maintain chain of custody, set alerts for evidence management and disposal, generate custom reports of evidence and manage physical and digital evidence together. Here are four ways an evidence management system can benefit your agency:
1. A digital evidence management system improves evidence accessibility
Strategic investments in digital policing strategies have shown to improve public safety and law enforcement operations. Without embracing the growth of electronic evidence software management systems, the job of both the police officer and investigator becomes much more complicated and likelihood for evidence mishandling increases. An evidence management system can provide relevant information swiftly to the investigator.
Many evidence management systems offer online case management with digital evidence management from several different sources such as content from small business closed captioned television sources or crowdsourced content from citizens. Custom-designed program analytics can offer search access across any connected sources in conjunction with media such as case reports, narratives, case reports or CAD and RMS systems.
2. A digital evidence management system offers cloud-based storage
Cloud storage has evolved tremendously over the last several years. It is very useful for agencies to ensure the security of digital evidence. Cloud storage offers efficiency, agility and innovation that typically cannot be achieved with in house or traditional on-site servers. Cloud-based storage capacity is endless. Storage of law enforcement digital data, which may include documents, images and critical evidence files, requires more storage space, which can be accomplished with online cloud storage.
3. A digital evidence management system delivers multi-tiered storage options
Additional options for digital evidence management software exist in the form of multi-tiered storage systems. The multi-tiered systems include the ability for the data to be stored on site, distributed between solid-state drives, file-based tapes and fast-spinning hard disks. Data is rotated depending upon age, demand and priority as customized by police agency. The system as a whole is adaptable and can shrink and expand as necessary.
4. A digital evidence management system improves digital evidence security
Secure storage and careful maintenance of digital evidence has never been more important than it is today in the law enforcement community. As the custodians of this digital evidence, law enforcement personnel must abide by the strict chain of custody rules established by the Criminal Justice Information Service (CJIS) and the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS). Storage of digital evidence must be managed according to law enforcement standards. CJIS and FIPS sets forth detailed policies that govern the creation, viewing, modification, transmission, dissemination, storage and destruction of data.
Video, photo, voice recordings and documents are all critical evidence pieces which law enforcement agencies, with the assistance of advanced technology, can store and maintain at a level of security that most agencies can never hope to establish on their own. The cloud-based storage utilized by the agency should include complete security usually through encryption coupled with secure password access for each officer or staff along with other security measures.
In order to assist investigators and even patrol level personnel in simplifying their investigations, ensuring security of digital evidence storage and the ease of accessibility is necessary. With new applications coming available each and every day, the quantity of potential forensic material is multiplied by the hour. Officers and investigators need assistance and tools to help them quickly and easily access and process materials for solving their cases.