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How to Implement a Digital Evidence Management System

Lack of clarity on implementing a digital evidence management system can leave police departments with a bad investment. Here is what you need to look for in a digital evidence management system.
by Hasan Rabbi Updated on January 10, 2024

In the ever-evolving landscape of modern law enforcement, where data and digital evidence have become crucial cornerstones of investigations, the need for efficient and secure evidence management has never been more pronounced. 

Handling sensitive video data obtained from drones, dashcams, body-worn cameras, closed-circuit television (CCTV), and smartphone footage can often get tricky.  

To tackle the above challenges, law enforcement agencies need a secure, reliable and streamlined system for managing this wealth of digital information. Digital evidence management systems (DEMS) help law enforcement agencies store digital evidence while maintaining integrity, security, and accessibility.  

In this blog, we will be talking about the best practices for law enforcement agencies to successfully implement a digital evidence management system.

Understanding Digital Evidence Management

A digital evidence management system (DEMS) is a comprehensive and advanced platform designed to cater to the collection, storage, security, organization, and sharing of digital evidence within and outside law enforcement agencies. 

According to a report, digital evidence is found in about 90% of criminal cases. This further establishes the fact that a secure, cloud-based digital evidence management system is the need of the hour for police forces. 

In accordance with a report published by The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), over 80% of police departments in the United States have reported an increase in the use of digital evidence in investigations.

Assessing Your Departmental Needs

Before diving into the implementation of digital evidence management software, it is vital to assess your departmental needs. This is crucial for the successful execution of the system.

Assessing-your-departmental-needs-Blog-Infographic

Volume of Digital Evidence

Law enforcement agencies receive huge amounts of digital evidence, which can often be overwhelming. The types of digital evidence routinely managed by your department may include photos, videos, audio recordings, and documents. Since digital evidence is found in many cases, gauging the amount of evidence is vital.

Storage Solutions

Storage capacities need to be addressed as soon as possible, or they become hiccups on the road to smooth digital evidence management. 

Law enforcement agencies need to assess present storage capacities and project future needs. The rapid growth of digital evidence needs a scalable solution. In this case, a digital evidence management system that meets your storage demands and provides upgradeable storage solutions coupled with high security should be your way to go.

Access Control

Digital evidence is easy to mishandle when it falls into the wrong hands. Here is a case of how digital evidence can be made a mess of when it falls into the wrong hands

Consider how your departmental officers collaborate and access evidence. To streamline collaboration and protect the integrity of evidence, it is important to give controlled access to authorized individuals.

A digital evidence management system that includes key features such as audit trails, tamper detection and role-based access is key.

Integration

A digital evidence management system deployed on the wrong server can lead to potential downtimes. This leads to roadblocks and not achieving deadlines, which are most critical in the case of law enforcement. 

Evaluate how well the digital evidence management system will integrate with your existing software and systems. Dynamic digital evidence management software allows multiple options for deployment, including cloud, on-premises, hybrid, and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Legal Compliances

Compliance with laws such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act) is mandatory in organizations. Failure to do so can result in detrimental effects on agencies. Data protection and compliance are the core of any law enforcement agency. Compliance with the chain of custody regulations, legal frameworks, and operational needs is paramount.

Meeting legal compliances, such as Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is mandatory.

Long-Term Usability

Consider the long-term feasibility of your digital evidence management system. Does it have constant recent updates, and is it willing to evolve with better technologies in the future? Additionally, assess its scalability to accommodate the growing volume of digital evidence and changing demands of law enforcement operations.

Choosing the Right DEMS for Law Enforcement

In a digital world, choosing the right digital evidence management system can be critical due to the numerous available digital evidence management software providers. But do not worry since we have broken it down for you. 

Here is the list of the key features you should look for when picking the right digital evidence management system for your law enforcement agency:

  • Secure Storage: Ensure the digital evidence management system has strict security measures, including encryption, access controls and authentication procedures.
  • Metadata Tagging: Metadata is indispensable for efficient evidence organization and retrieval. It includes necessary information such as the date created, location, and file size and type.
  • Search Capabilities: A powerful AI-powered search function with advanced filters and keyword searching is important for retrieval and finding data. Manual searches take too much time, especially when going through gigabytes worth of data.
  • Chain of Custody: A chain of custody report records all activities, events, and actions within a digital evidence management system. This includes the chain of custody that pertains to the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of digital evidence.
  • Court-Ready Evidence Sharing: Law enforcement officers need to work with internal and external agencies to solve cases, so in those cases, evidence sharing becomes an essential feature for secure evidence collaboration and prevention of unauthorized access.
  • Built-in Redaction: Digital evidence often contains sensitive information, like Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as faces, license plates, financial records, vehicles, etc. It is necessary to conceal such information before making it public.

Is VIDIZMO a Viable Option for Law Enforcement?

Why would VIDIZMO be best suited to your needs?  

The IDC-recognized VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) offers numerous capabilities. VIDIZMO offers flexible deployment options, offering up to four different methods – cloud, on-premises, hybrid, and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Whichever best suits your department’s needs, VIDIZMO has got your back! 

As mentioned in this blog, storage issues can sometimes become a nuisance. That is exactly why we offer scalable storage solutions. Constantly facing storage troubles due to increasing heaps of digital evidence? Just get more- request with one click of a button! 

To keep up with technology is an essential need. Otherwise, be prepared to spend hours on manual labor that could have been done in no time thanks to Artificial Intelligence. VIDIZMO’s AI-powered search feature can intelligently search through faces, spoken words, and objects lying inside the video. What’s more? You can search for digital evidence with a multilingual search.

Security is the backbone of DEMS, and that’s why VIDIZMO is devoted to maintaining the highest levels of it. VIDIZMO offers multiple security features to make certain that evidence integrity is not compromised at any level, such as Single Sign-On (SSO), audit trails, and encryption. 

Want to give it a shot? Here is our 7-day free trial!

Conclusion

In the dynamic landscape of modern law enforcement, implementing a digital evidence management system is the solution to reach unprecedented efficiencies. This journey is not just about integrating technology into the system for law enforcement agencies. It is about modernizing digital evidence management practices.

Law enforcement agencies can effectively ensure digital evidence management best practices by investing in an advanced digital evidence management system, like VIDIZMO DEMS.

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Posted by Hasan Rabbi

Hasan is an Associate Product Marketing Analyst at VIDIZMO. He is actively engaged in research pertaining to the digital evidence management challenges faced in the law enforcement and legal landscape. In case of any queries, feel free to reach out at websales@vidizmo.com.

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