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10 Features to Consider in a Digital Evidence Management System

Managing digital evidence is not an easy job. Here’s what you need to look for in a digital evidence management system.
by Rafey Iqbal Rahman Updated on September 29, 2023

The US is witnessing a surge in crimes. According to data obtained by the University of Pennsylvania, violent crimes in the US saw an uptick in 2022. As a rule of thumb, the increasing number of crimes lends to the fact that the amount of digital evidence is increasing.

Hence, the need for a digital evidence management system in the law enforcement landscape becomes an absolute necessity.

This blog serves as a comprehensive buyer’s guide for law enforcement agencies looking to invest in a digital evidence management system. The blog outlines the key capabilities a law enforcement agency should look for in a digital evidence management system.

Why Law Enforcement Agencies Need a Digital Evidence Management System?

Navigating a huge pile of evidence poses a great challenge to law enforcement agencies. According to Alison Brooks, research vice president at IDC:

“Police have been huge CD purchasers because they’ve had to put digital evidence onto discs and physically take them to other agencies.”

A digital evidence management system frees law enforcement agencies from various concerns associated with managing and securing digital evidence of sensitive nature.

That’s not all!

An effective digital evidence management software yields numerous benefits, such as faster solving of cases, compliance with strict laws and regulations, low share of manual efforts, and a variety of other benefits. This is why law enforcement agencies are actively seeking a digital evidence management system. 

What to Look for in a Digital Evidence Management System?

10 features to look for in a digital evidence management system

To cope with the challenge of increasing evidence from various sources, law enforcement agencies require a state-of-the-art digital evidence management system for increasing evidence. Not every digital evidence management software is equipped with features aligned with the particular agency’s needs. Therefore, law enforcement agencies should ensure that a digital evidence management system meets the following criteria and caters to their specific needs:

CJIS-Compliant

Evidence security is of paramount importance for law enforcement agencies. Data breaches are increasingly common, and public-sector organizations are increasingly under cyber-attacks.

This calls for a CJIS-compliant digital evidence management system with best-in-class evidence security. Security features like password protection of evidence, chain of custody, role-based access control, and others help agencies manage evidence without the fear of evidence data breach.

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) offers robust evidence security in a CJIS-compliant environment with capabilities such as role-based access control comprising six user roles, tamper detection, single-sign-on (SSO) support for user authentication, real-time evidence alerts, access reason provisioning, a comprehensive chain of evidence custody showing who did what and when to the evidence, and a host of other security features.

Integration with Other Systems

Law enforcement agencies often have a variety of systems, each tailored to their purposes. These include computer-aided dispatch systems (CAD), records management systems (RMS), and others. Managing evidence across different systems can be a nightmare for agencies if proper integrations are not in place. 

Imagine a scenario where you cannot transfer interview room recordings to the digital evidence management system to analyze them further.

Frustrating, right?

This is why an effective digital evidence management system should offer seamless integration with CAD/RMS and other systems used by law enforcement agencies.  

Through its Rest API, VIDIZMO empowers law enforcement agencies by enabling them to seamlessly integrate their existing systems, including CAD/RMS systems, with VIDIZMO DEMS.

Flexible Deployment Options

The majority of law enforcement agencies use the cloud to store digital evidence, but there remains a fear of whether the evidence stays secure. Previously, cloud services have exposed critical data for it to be seen by the public eye. 

This is why a digital evidence management system offering flexible deployment options, such as cloud and on-premises, to name a few, is the key to curbing the fear of evidence security. With the on-premises deployment of the digital evidence management system, agencies can secure digital evidence behind their firewall.  

VIDIZMO DEMS offers flexible deployment options such as Private Cloud/Government Cloud (Azure), On-premises, and Hybrid (Cloud + On-premises), law enforcement agencies have the power to choose where to deploy. 

Court-Ready Evidence Preparation

Law enforcement officials often have to present the evidence before the judge and the jury. However, there is a chance of possible embarrassment if the evidence does not meet the criteria for it to be admissible in court, I.e., it should be tamper-proof and come along with a chain of custody report.

Because of the above reason, a digital evidence management system should offer certain features, such as tamper verification, evidence chain of custody and automatic transcription and translation to ease the pain of hefty legal documentation. By leveraging these features, law enforcement officials can ensure the evidence is admissible in court.

VIDIZMO DEMS offers tamper verification and a comprehensive chain of custody for each evidence file, including the username, IP address, activity type, and date and time stamp, listing every activity performed within the evidence. Other than that, law enforcement officials can transcribe and translate evidence in 45+ languages.

Secure Evidence Sharing

Law enforcement officials often engage in multi-agency collaboration with other law enforcement agencies to solve large-scale cases, such as that human trafficking.

Other than that, even in low-profile cases, evidence sharing becomes essential for expediting the investigation process while focusing on evidence security and the prevention of unauthorized access.

This is why a digital evidence management system should offer the capability to share evidence with other law enforcement officers. However, considering the security concerns of law enforcement professionals, evidence sharing should not in any way result in a compromise of evidence integrity.

VIDIZMO DEMS offers rich options for evidence sharing, bearing in mind the security concerns, allowing law enforcement officials to share evidence with other parties. Officers can share evidence through tokenized URLs and restrict evidence access by the number of views and other parameters.

Support for Multiple File Formats

Law enforcement agencies find themselves dealing with huge amounts of data originating from multiple devices, such as body-worn cameras, surveillance cameras, dashcams, etc. The vast variety of data sources leads to evidence of all kinds (videos, audio recordings, images, and documents) available in different file formats.

Not all digital evidence management systems support a wide variety of formats. However, given the needs of law enforcement agencies, a digital evidence management system should be format agnostic.

VIDIZMO DEMS is one such format-agnostic digital evidence management software offering law enforcement officials to easily access evidence available in multiple file formats corresponding to different data types, including videos, audio, images, and documents.

Scalable Storage

Because of the diversity of crimes committed (homicides, cyber frauds, etc.), the amount of evidence is increasing rapidly. This translates into a pressing issue for law enforcement agencies that now have to face the burden of storing piles of evidential data. This results in increased storage costs which are borne by the taxpayer.

A digital evidence management system that offers the flexibility to scale up storage, aligning with the growing needs of the law enforcement sector, is the go-to solution.

VIDIZMO DEMS offers scalable storage so that law enforcement agencies can easily store and manage the increasing amount of digital evidence. 

AI-Powered Evidence Search

The amount of evidence stored by law enforcement agencies is unimaginable. Dealing with a massive pile of evidential data comes with its own set of challenges.

Imagine a scenario where an officer has to find the right evidence, but they do not remember its attributes (such as file name, date of creation, etc.).

To tackle this challenge, a digital evidence management system must be equipped with advanced AI-powered evidence search features to reduce search and time costs for law enforcement professionals.

VIDIZMO DEMS comes with intelligent AI-powered evidence search capabilities, including searching through faces, spoken words, objects appearing inside the video (such as signboards), multilingual search, search through tags and metadata, etc.

Configurable Retention Periods

Different types of case files correspond to different retention periods. For instance, case files of solved homicide cases should be kept for only two years.

On the other hand, the data for unsolved homicide cases should be retained for 75 years. However, keeping track of all evidence can be cumbersome, given the amount of evidence law enforcement agencies navigate through.

To solve this issue, digital evidence management software should automatically delete evidential data after a certain period, as prescribed by different data retention policies applying to law enforcement agencies. This frees law enforcement officers from the hassle of going through every previous piece of evidence, keeping track of its expiry date, and then manually purging it once the retention period is over.

VIDIZMO DEMS lets law enforcement personnel define the data retention period, after which the data is automatically purged once the period ends.

Built-In Redaction

Since law enforcement officials collect and receive evidence containing sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII) of case victims, witnesses, informants, and other sources, concealing the sensitive information to prevent serious consequences (threats to life and safety).

The above challenge can be solved through redaction. An effective digital evidence management system offers in-built redaction to redact sensitive information and ensure compliance of law enforcement agencies with federal regulations, such as the Privacy Act, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), etc.

VIDIZMO DEMS comes with built-in redaction that can protect sensitive information found in videos, audio recordings, images, and documents. 

Why is VIDIZMO DEMS Ideal for Law Enforcement Agencies?

VIDIZMO DEMS stands as the right solution for law enforcement agencies to manage the growing digital evidence. The IDC-recognized digital evidence management system offers law enforcement officers the ability to manage evidence seamlessly from AI-powered search and integration with other systems to automatic transcription/translation and a wide range of data security and platform security features.

Not sure whether to trust a digital evidence management system by investing in a fortune? Try VIDIZMO DEMS for free today with the 7-day free trial

Posted by Rafey Iqbal Rahman

Rafey is an Associate Product Marketing Analyst at VIDIZMO and holds expertise in redaction and digital evidence management technologies. He actively researches tech industries to keep up with the trends. For any queries, feel free to reach out to websales@vidizmo.com

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