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Resolving Law Enforcement's Video Evidence Management Dilemmas

An increasing number of court cases rely on video evidence but law enforcement is not reasonably equipped to manage exponentially increasing video evidence
by Rabeea Tahir Updated on April 21, 2021

Contemporary law enforcement agencies deal with an increasing number and types of digital evidence, which often comes in the form of video evidence or other digital media captured as part of legal investigations.

Being characteristically lengthy, video evidence files are often difficult to process due to their sheer size. The problem is further compounded when the digital evidence files are then required for sharing with third parties for collaboration. Law enforcement needs a digital evidence management solution to make it easier and quicker for them.

Confronting Video Evidence Processing Challenges

 

Law enforcement agencies collect ample digital evidence captured by surveillance cameras, body-worn cameras, dash-cams, civilian cell phone videos, among a myriad of other sources. An average sworn officer of the law produces about 20 GB of bodycam video every month. That's 7 hours worth of video. And that number pales in comparison to the 3.3 trillion hours of surveillance video captured everyday.

Further exacerbating the problem is the fact that one incident or crime scene could potentially be captured by multiple surveillance cameras, cell phone cameras, wearable cameras, and so on, depending on the number of officers reporting to the scene or the number people or devices capturing the same incident simultaneously.

The officers in charge of editing and processing all the collected video evidence find themselves inundated. Often, only a few minute-long clips need to be extracted from hours and hours of footage, lending to the officer’s plight of having to review drawn-out video evidence in an extremely time-consuming process.

Adding to the challenge, evidence processing needs can be fairly urgent when, for example, a police department needs to share video evidence with the district attorney’s office within a certain timeframe or even immediately to render it useful for time-sensitive investigations.

This puts immense pressure on police departments or other agencies at the front-end of video evidence reception and processing.

Making Video Evidence Management Simple

 

Interconnectivity

VIDIZMO has designed a reliable solution for law enforcement agencies to manage their digital evidence. Digital Evidence Management System integrates with evidence collection tools, like body-worn cameras, in-car cameras, surveillance cameras and drones, for automatic ingestion of video evidence files. This essentially rids the officers of the hassle of migrating files from their camera devices to their systems. Plus, it also integrates with the agency's existing systems, including records management system (RMS) and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems for seamless interconnection between video evidence files and related details, allowing for an interoperable infrastructure.

User Access

Once in the system, the evidence files are organized in case folders, protected by role based access control. Users with Manager roles in the system have the authority to view and manage all evidence and they can give permissions to other users as per need. By default, contributing and viewing users have limited permissions and access to protect the integrity of evidence. Anyone accessing a video evidence file must provide a reason for access before they can view the evidence.

Understandably, maintaining the integrity of video evidence is a concern for law enforcement agencies. VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System automatically generates a chain of custody log, including reason for access, for each evidence file. Plus, it detects any tampering with the evidence using hash coding, allowing agencies to keep track of the authenticity of their evidence. The system also generates an audit log to keep track of every single activity performed within the system.

Artificial Intelligence

VIDIZMO offers law enforcement a Digital Evidence Management System for these challenges. VIDIZMO transcribes all videos and audios so keywords can be searched to quickly jump to specific parts in the video. It saves numerous hours spent scrambling through long video evidence files. Officers can now also identify desired sections in a video using transcription of spoken words before editing and bundling them for sharing with other stakeholders.

Furthermore, law enforcement can make digital evidence management easier by using VIDIZMO’s artificial intelligence capabilities to detect faces, objects speech, and characters. Using these insights, officers can search videos for specific faces, objects and characters just as they would spoken words. They can skip forward to the relevant parts of the video instead of watching it all the way through. AI can also perform sentimental analysis, making the officers’ jobs much easier. Plus, after detecting all these elements in a video, the AI can automatically redact personally identifiable information like faces and license plates.

Sharing Evidence

Digital evidence sharing is integral to the legal processes. However, in the case of video evidence, the sheer size of the files makes it very difficult to carry out evidence sharing across traditional storage devices or even over the internet.

VIDIZMO offers law enforcement Digital Evidence Management System to address this by allowing easy content sharing with internal and external (third party) users. Internal sharing takes place via active directory authentication while external sharing is carried out using a secure online link i.e. a password-protected URL that requires authentication through Google, Microsoft ID or VIDIZMO ID.

To ensure evidence security, the link or URL is only made accessible for a limited time period (defined by the sender), during which the other party can safely access information in a read-only format. System administrators also have the ability to selectively allow or disallow third-party evidence sharing and downloading for each file.

All these data sharing options ensure that digital evidence is broadly available to third-party authorized users in a secure and timely manner.

Learn More about VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System capabilities and offerings.

 

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Posted by Rabeea Tahir

Rabea Tahir is Technology Content Strategist at VIDIZMO which is a Gartner recognized enterprise video content management system, to stream live/on-demand media to both internal and external audiences, on-premise, Azure or AWS cloud. VIDIZMO solutions are used by enterprises, government, local, state government, healthcare, law enforcement agencies, justice, public safety, manufacturing, financial & banking industry.

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