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Digital Evidence Management in the Light of IACP

With the law enforcement landscape changing, discover the IACP guidelines for digital evidence management and the need for technological adoption.
by Rafey Iqbal Rahman and Hasan Rabbi Updated on December 8, 2023

Nothing surprising here – more and more law enforcement agencies are realizing the importance of a digital evidence management system.

Technology does save lives, and it cannot be truer than in the case of law enforcement. The convergence of technology and law enforcement has ushered in a new era of investigative excellence.

Crimes are on the rise. Perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic is to be blamed since heinous crimes, such as homicides, have seen a drastic increase of 42.6% in 2022 compared to 2019. Indeed, a major blow to the safety of people in the post-pandemic world.

This emphasizes the need for a digital evidence management system for law enforcement professionals even more.

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In this blog, we will discuss how digital evidence management systems are helping law enforcement agencies address increasing crimes by managing, securing, and sharing digital evidence through a digital evidence management system.

Challenges Faced by Law Enforcement Agencies in Digital Evidence Management

Law enforcement agencies find themselves locked in a whirlpool of digital evidence management issues. Managing digital evidence has a broader scope, involving:

  • Organizing the digital evidence on a centralized repository.
  • Being able to find the right digital evidence when needed.
  • Securing the digital evidence from unauthorized access.

The unprecedented rise in US crimes has resulted in a huge influx of digital evidence into the electronic databases of law enforcement agencies. As if solving the cases was not enough of a burden, now they also have to navigate a great deal of digital evidence.

The digital evidence spans across a variety of formats. According to a document published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), digital evidence includes but is not limited to videos, audio recordings, financial information, and vehicle data.

According to the IACP, law enforcement challenges include the following:

Lack of Technological Capacity

According to a recent publication by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, artificial intelligence (AI) can help law enforcement solve crimes. The same publication also laments the gradual adoption of technology in general.

The lack of technological capacity for digital evidence management constantly challenges law enforcement agencies. In fact, it is one of the most dominant reasons agencies cannot investigate crimes with the utmost efficiency.

This is primarily due to the lack of specialized software, such as a digital evidence management system.

Technical Barriers to Access

The US law enforcement landscape is replete with instances of ransomware attacks compromising the integrity of sensitive information stored within police departments, including the personally identifiable information (PII) of law enforcement officers.

The prime reason for the above attacks is the unregulated encryption technologies being used by police departments.

A robust digital evidence management system with regulated, CJIS-compliant encryption technologies can prove to be a game-changer when it comes to protecting the integrity of data as well as law enforcement officers.

Policy Considerations Provided by the IACP Task Force

The IACP Law Enforcement Cyber Center recommends that law enforcement agencies implement new or review existing policies, oversights, and operational controls to ensure that they are ready to face hurdles posted by digital evidence management. Here are some of them:

Use Technology in Professional Policing

The IACP strongly recommends that law enforcement agencies utilize technologies for effective digital evidence management, such as police evidence management software.

Recognizing the shift in how evidence is collected in legal cases from physical to digital data, the IACP navigates law enforcement agencies to make use of systems to help in acquiring, processing, and handling digital evidence.

The IACP emphasizes the requirement of having to adhere to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and regulations. This includes the careful collection and acquisition of digital evidence through:

  • Documentation
  • Perseveration and handling
  • Storage, security, and accountability
  • Secure access control
  • Electronic storage considerations
  • Disaster recovery and resiliency
  • Strict non-deviation from policies

Understand Encryption

The IACP policy considerations also greatly emphasize how unregulated encryption can be a barrier for law enforcement agencies in relation to digital evidence management.

Law enforcement agencies should explore legal options and resources to access important digital evidence that is crucial for case-building.

Protect Digital Evidence

Digital evidence management systems that are secure and offer protection from hacking, malware, and similar cyber-crimes should be prioritized.

Choosing a digital evidence management system that has the proper infrastructure, audit trails, access controls, and encryption is important to minimize the risk of unauthorized access to digital evidence.

Adhere to Legal Guidelines

Establishing effective processes for requesting, sharing, and using evidence in legal cases is mandatory. This points to creating clear and well-defined procedures, protocols, and communication channels to handle digital evidence.

Especially in the scenario of obtaining digital evidence from third parties, guidelines state that evidence be collected, preserved, and analyzed in a manner that sticks to legal standards, ensuring its authenticity and admissibility in court.

Is VIDIZMO Viable for Law Enforcement Agencies?

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is a viable solution for law enforcement agencies to streamline and enhance their digital evidence management processes.

By providing a secure platform for uploading, storing, managing, and sharing digital evidence, it ensures the integrity of critical data. Other capabilities include:

Centralized Repository

Specifically, VIDIZMO DEMS offers a centralized platform where all digital evidence is stored and organized. This eradicates the need to search through different networks and databases.

Role-Based Access Control

Team members can easily locate and access evidence and cases. Thanks to a granular role-based access control mechanism, users can only access and manage digital evidence relevant to their responsibilities or roles assigned to them.

AI-Powered Search

Agencies can use AI-powered search to identify faces, license plate numbers, weapons, spoken words, and even written words and numbers within digital evidence.

User Collaboration

Users can collaborate in real-time as well, dropping comments and notes directly on evidence. This helps teams communicate and share findings and insights without needing to waste valuable time in physical meetings.

VIDIZMO DEMS also helps agencies make their overall digital evidence management operations more efficient by providing many crucial features.

Interested in exploring VIDIZMO DEMS? Click here to get to know the AI-powered police evidence management software better. 

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Digital Evidence Management for Law Enforcement

As we stand at the intersection of technology and justice, the VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System meets the demands of law enforcement agencies to manage evidence seamlessly.

The IDC-recognized digital evidence management system helps law enforcement agencies to safeguard evidence, handle it more effectively, and help overall investigative processes.

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Posted by Rafey Iqbal Rahman and Hasan Rabbi

Rafey and Hasan are Associate Product Marketing Analysts at VIDIZMO and hold expertise in modern law enforcement technologies, particularly digital evidence management systems. They actively research the changing law enforcement landscape to keep up with the trends. For any queries, feel free to reach out to websales@vidizmo.com

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