If you've worked in law enforcement or criminal justice, then you've probably heard of a digital evidence management software. In today's day and age, pretty much everything is undergoing a digital transformation. With the world going increasingly digital, it's even estimated that more than 80% of crimes involve video evidence. In order to make the evidence management process more feasible with the fast-moving contemporary society, law enforcement and criminal justice officials need a more quick and efficient way to collect and manage evidence for solving cases and expediting operations. Technology has come a long way towards making the modern legal system and practices more seamless and efficient. Let's get into how a digital evidence management software assists in improving the criminal justice and law enforcement system? But first...
What is a Digital Evidence Management Software?
First, let's take a look at what exactly does a digital evidence management software do. A digital evidence management software helps streamline the essential process of storing, managing and sharing digital evidence. With the development of smartphones, CCTV cameras, bodycams and dashcams, criminal justice and law enforcement agencies have increasingly adopted technology for keeping our communities safe through successful collection and management of digital evidence such as videos, audio, images and other digital evidence files from these and other sources of digital media evidence to conduct successful trials and prosecutions.
This modern method of collecting, storing, managing and sharing evidence has made legal more efficient, less complex and reliable. Most evidence management software solutions offer features such as scalable evidence storage (cloud storage has become widely popular with modern agencies), a complete chain of custody, extensive features for controlling security at a granular level, like role-based access control and encryption, and essential compliances such as CJIS. Other features some evidence management softwares may provide include artificial intelligence functions (e.g., face & object detection, OCR, etc.), redaction and integration with other various IT systems such as records management systems (RMS) and computer-aided dispatch (CAD).
How does Digital Evidence Management Software Help in Modern Investigations?
A digital evidence management software simplifies or automates several processes that help collect, store, organize, analyze and share evidence more effectively and efficiently. Contemporary criminal justice and law enforcement agencies use digital evidence management software for:
Expediting Investigations to Solve Crimes and Close Cases Faster
Legal stakeholders such as law enforcement officers spend a lot of time manually carrying out repetitive activities and processes that keep them chained to their desks and away from more important duties, such as conducting field operations. Additionally, having disparate systems for storing, organizing, searching, analyzing and sharing evidence makes it all the more tedious and inefficient to carry out law enforcement and criminal justice operations. In order to create a more efficient process to solve crimes, it's necessary for evidence to be easily available and manageable from other systems, including records management systems (RMS), computer-aided dispatch (CAD) and interview room recordings. Therefore, it's necessary to have a consolidated solution that helps ensure these processes are streamlined for effective evidence management.
Digital evidence management software solutions provide the necessary tools for using a single solution to store, manage and share all evidence without having to constantly change or learn how to operate separate systems. They also automate certain evidence processing procedures such as ingesting and collecting evidence from different sources, like CCTVs, dashcams, bodycams, and maintaining a complete chain of custody reports for all evidence. Single sign-on for quick access and the use of artificial intelligence for quicker evidence analysis such as facial and object recognition make it quicker and more efficient to solve cases and expedite investigations. Officers need to spend less time chained to their desks and instead are able to donate more time to field operations.
Making Digital Evidence More Accessible and Useable
For a long time, law enforcement and criminal justice officers have been storing digital evidence on desktops, DVDs, USBs and other physical storage devices. Though it may seem simple and inexpensive in the early term, it can overall be much more costly, inefficient and even risky to keep storing, managing and sharing evidence using such legacy systems. Today, it's not feasible or effective to be able to access evidence spread across different storage devices due to many reasons such as being unaware of where it was stored, the evidence being restricted to a single or limited source of access, lack of training on how to use the device or system to access the evidence, or even simple human mistakes such as forgetting a password.
A digital evidence management software eliminates such barriers by providing a centralized space for accessing and sharing evidence. Officers and investigators can access evidence from multiple sources and devices without having to search through disparate systems or try to remember where the evidence is stored. Furthermore, stakeholders don't need to carry and deliver sensitive data stored on DVDs or portable drives, and instead instantly and securely share evidence using any device such as smartphones. Certain solutions such as VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System also offer redaction, which is important for many stakeholders. For example, attorneys need to redact personally identifiable information (PII) from evidence during discovery. Using a digital evidence management software, they don't need to leverage a separate system or services for redacting evidence, saving time and resources during the discovery process.
Working Safer and Smarter
Like we mentioned previously, most law enforcement and criminal justice organizations usually rely on physical devices such as DVDs and USB drives to carry and share digital evidence. This can be risky, since these devices can easily be lost, broken or misplaced. Moreover, it can be difficult to maintain a complete chain of custody or ensure that the files in the device have not been altered or tampered with before they are shared.
A digital evidence management software is not only more efficient, but safer and smarter for accessing, managing and sharing evidence. A digital system reduces the risks that come with using physical devices. Additionally, it makes the process much faster and more feasible from any location. Digital evidence management software also provides features such as automatically generating and maintaining chain of custody reports for tracking evidence and ensuring compliance with court requirements for the admissibility of evidence.
It's also a much more hygienic method of handling and exchanging data. There have been several outbreaks of contagious diseases that have become epidemics or even pandemics. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and created the need for social distancing. Digitally exchanging data has eliminated physical exchange and contact to prevent the spread of contagious diseases.
VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is a secure and device-agnostic (mobile-friendly) digital evidence management system deployable on cloud or on-premise, that enables public safety & law enforcement agencies to store, manage, analyze and share ever-increasing digital evidence collected from multiple sources like body-worn cameras, dashcams, CCTV cameras, phone call recordings and other sources while ensuring the highest level of compliance like CJIS and FedRAMP. It is trusted for its secure and rich sharing options, AI and redaction, evidence access management, flexible deployment options, compliances, and integrations for evidence ingestion.
Take a 30-day free trial to test out the platform for yourself or contact us today to learn more about VIDIZMO.