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The Importance of Digital Evidence Management Software for Police

By Maham Zaidi

Do your detectives have to log on to a dozen systems to collect evidence and manually search for connections in cases? Are they spending too much time emailing, phoning, even traveling from place to place to collect evidence manually? Does your agency lack scalable solutions for crowdsourcing evidence? Are your officers not able to perform on-field and spend too much time in front of the screen? If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, we have the right solution for you, Evidence Software for Police! 

Traditionally, that system was paper-based and burdensome. It required many man-hours of cataloging and written documentation. Today, however, evidence software for police tool suites are available to streamline this critical process.

 

Traditional Methods of Policing 

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Once upon a time, managing evidence was a paper-based procedure that started at the crime scene. An officer assembles a piece of evidence, tags, or places the evidence in a bag. Then, they write information on the bag, such as a case number, date, and address. Usually, the item is allocated an item number. By the end of the shift, the officer delivers any evidence to the evidence room or perhaps drops it in a temporary storage locker. In this case, someone from the evidence room can recover it later, along with the officer’s handwritten evidence report. A copy of the evidence report should also be attached to the case report. 

Next, the evidence custodian collects the evidence. From there, the evidence techs or investigators determine whether lab work is required to process the evidence further. Notifications may need to be made. The evidence custodian then assigns a permanent storage space for the item and places it on a shelf or in a suitable box. The item must be logged into a master logbook. All information must also be logged into a records management system. Yeah, boring! This crime scene might be fast-forwarded on television screens. 

As should be obvious, the conventional strategy for the following proof all through its lifecycle includes written by hand notes and names, duplication of exertion, manual updates to logbooks, and sections into information the board frameworks. Anybody with experience in the field realizes that keeping a faultless chain of custody is a long-running test. 

While this method is still used by law enforcement agencies in the United States, it is labor-intensive and subject to a great deal of human error. Therefore, a digital evidence management system is an efficient solution that eliminates redundancies, increases efficiency, reduces human error potential and yeah, you will not fast forward it. That’s a guarantee!

 

What Does Evidence Management Software do? 

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Evidence management software enables police departments to control digital as well as physical evidence paperless. These software systems employ the latest technology to initiate and manage the chain of custody. Evidence software eliminates the old-fashioned need to keep tickler files. Instead, the system sends automated alerts for overdue checkouts and other notifications. 

Additionally, an evidence tracking system uses cloud technology to securely store data and allow users to access the design from the field or anywhere. For example, officers can use smartphones to take images and videos, record interviews, and upload, manage and process data instantly to make the investigation go on top gear. 

An evidence management software saves a lot more time, keeping the investigation running smooth, errorless, efficient, easy, and less tedious. Evidence software provides you with accessibility in the field with a cloud-based solution and on-premise deployment. Cloud-based applications can run on just about all mobile devices and on any platform, which means law enforcement personnel can use them in the field rather than waiting to log evidence in the evidence room or at a computer terminal in a fixed location. Rather than waste valuable time filling out reports, officers can initiate the chain of evidence from the crime scene and return to the field in a matter of minutes rather than hours. 

It is easy peasy to use! Evidence management software is user-friendly and insightful, which means users can learn it quickly. If it is too complex, law enforcement personnel will waste valuable time correcting errors, searching help files, and grappling over system complexities. In modern times, however, courts are acknowledging both types of evidence likewise. So, maintaining them on separate systems no longer makes sense. Both are prioritized equally regarding the chain of custody and evidence integrity. 

Further, we no longer store digital media on physical CDs or DVDs. Now, they are logged as digital data that displays metadata for ease of identification. Splitting physical and digital data on separate systems calls the chain of custody into question. Evidence management softwares permit you to support digital and physical evidence synchronously and on a single system, establishing an ironclad chain of custody for your agency. 

Also, additional features come with this, like customizable data fields, a tracking system to have a customization feature that enables your system administrator to modify or add new data fields as required. The system should also archive outdated areas rather than deleting them can lead to old data loss. Integrate with existing platforms, most evidence software developers are aware of industry standards and design their systems to be compatible with supporting systems. The system should also work with depreciation data, related accounting information, audits, and other variables within your interconnected systems. It also provides multiple security protocols to keep evidence intact and protected, provides scalability as your agency grows, end-to-end encryption, and makes efficient use of resources.

 

VIDIZMO| Evidence Management Software for the Police 

 

So, as we promised to provide you with a powerpack solution for your problems and questions. Tada! VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). Yes, VIDIZMO is the answer to all your questions, the relief to your stress. VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) is digital evidence tracking software that offers a comprehensive solution to all the challenges law enforcement agencies face while managing digital evidence. Let us investigate the extensive features it provides:

 

  • Easily Manage Digital Evidence Files: 

It can be challenging to manage large volumes of digital evidence stored on disparate systems. VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) eliminates data silos to store, search, analyze and share evidence from a single, centralized location. Use one system to save all digital evidence from multiple sources (dashcams, bodycams, CCTVs, etc.). It can store digital evidence of any format; The system can ingest and store digital evidence in any form. Digital evidence is recorded from multiple sources, including dashcams, bodycams, CCTV, phone call recordings etc. DEMS can provide support for additional formats as required, and that’s not it. It also provides playback/view 255+ format on any device! Playback and view digital evidence in more than 255 formats in the native mode, which can be viewed in the browser. The system has the option of transcoding and automatically detecting the best video format to play for the device. 

Learn more about how to manage digital evidence files easily

 

  • Seamless Sharing Process with Stakeholders 

For law enforcement agencies, quickly receiving and sharing evidence for inter and intra-agency collaboration is essential for more compelling cases. Traditional methods for sharing evidence, such as physical storage devices, can be timely and inefficient. VIDIZMO enables law enforcement agencies to digitally transmit and collect evidence using DEMS for a faster and more secure process. It provides mobile and desktop applications to speed up the sharing process, empowers officers and investigators on the field to manage evidence using mobile devices. You can access DEMS from anywhere using your smartphone or tablet to quickly capture, upload, manage and share digital evidence on mobile devices. With the desktop application, you can view and automatically sync evidence uploading without network or browser dependencies through VIDIZMO’s easy to install a desktop application for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. It also provides you with the features of limited time and view sharing, end-to-end encryption, citizenpublic-defender and prosecutor portals to share evidence easily with VIDIZMO DEMS chain of custody records and bulk evidence sharing.

 

  • Chain of Custody 

Maintaining chronological records and a complete chain of custody is essential. Easily monitor all user activity with the platform and maintain an entire chain of custody, including reasons for accessing a piece of evidence. VIDIZMO chain of custody offers compliance for court presentation, generating a pre-formatted report, tracks digital footprints across the portal, mitigates internal fraud with excessive features like audit logs, downloading, reasons of access and filters.

 

  • Flexible Deployment and Compliance 

VIDIZMO offers the flexibility to choose your deployment model that fits your needs, budget & compliance requirements. It stores your digital evidence in a secure cloud, on-premise or hybrid infrastructure, and allows you to enforce your own IT and security policies and controls all storage aspects for your evidence by choosing your deployment model. It also ensures complete security and compliance for your sensitive data and evidence by deploying DEMS in the Azure Government Cloud or the AWS GovCloud (US).  

  • On-Premise: Ensure complete control over your data and store all digital evidence on your on-premise servers and data centers. 
  • SaaS Cloud: Quickly deploy DEMS in just a few hours to host and manage your evidence in a multitenant cloud environment. 
  • Bring-Your-Own-Cloud: Deploys DEMS in your existing cloud to limit expenditure and negotiate directly with your cloud provider on cloud consumption costs. 
  • Hybrid: Keeps sensitive data on-premises while leveraging cloud services and benefits such as cost savings and compliance with a hybrid deployment. 
  • Government Cloud: Deploy DEMS in any commercial cloud, in the Azure Government Cloud or the AWS GovCloud for secure cloud storage and other services while meeting compliance requirements such CJIS, FedRAMP and DoD. 

VIDIZMO DEMS offers various security controls and features to ensure compliance with the latest federal regulations and standards. With our CJIS and FIPS 140-2 compliant system working in tandem with cloud services such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), you can fulfill a wide variety of security and regulation compliance standards in addition to major ones like FedRAMP, ITAR, and EAR etc., to satisfy your requirements. Ensure FIPS-compliant end-to-end encryption for protecting sensitive evidence data ‘in transit’ and ‘at rest’. 

Learn more about Compliance

 

  • Enhanced Search and Quick Sharing for the Police 

Officers often must search through piles of evidence which diverts their focus from more important tasks such as field operations. DEMS AI-powered search helps officers quickly retrieve evidence and search inside evidence to find faces, objects, spoken/displayed words, and more, so they can spend more time on their field and less time chained to their desks. DEMS automatically extracts and indexes metadata from evidence to make it easily searchable through a simple keyword search called intelligent search. VIDIZMO also leverages multiple sharing options, such as digital portals and secure link sharing to digitally collect and transfer evidence from within or outside the agency.

 

  • Save Time with Automatic Legal Transcripts 

Previously officers had to spend time preparing legal transcripts, which took a lot of time. Using a digital evidence management system, leverage automatic audio and video transcription for faster turnaround time and save valuable manhours for manual transcription. Analyze better and reduce the risk of misinterpretation by using transcriptions as legal documents. VIDIZMO offers automatic audio & video evidence transcription in 80+ languages and reduces legal transcription turnaround time. Search inside transcripts to immediately find spoken or written words and jump to where it occurs without reviewing the whole evidence.

 

  • Department-Wise Usage and Content Segregation 

It’s crucial to maintain the privacy and security of evidence to ensure only the authorized users can access it. Enable officers, investigators, citizens, and other stakeholders to upload and access evidence while providing privacy for different pieces of evidence from unauthorized access. Leverage features such as multiple portals and user groups for segregating agencies and departments, role-based access control for managing user permissions, and more. Role-based access control helps control granular security and access to sensitive information through evidence access control and choose to share the evidence with select users, prevents unauthorized access to protect evidence integrity, minimizes cybersecurity risks with evidence access control with additional features like user management, group management, end-to-end encryption, password protection, location and IP protection and login timeout.

 

  • Security of Digital Evidence 

It is necessary to maintain the integrity of digital evidence to present it in a court of law. Ensure evidence authenticity by maintaining a complete chain of custody and leveraging features such as end-to-end encryption, access control and more. Tampering of evidence is one of the critical issues faced in law enforcement. Protect your digital evidence from unauthorized access and ensure the integrity of evidence with a robust set of security controls, such as role-based access control, cryptographic hash function, audit trails, end-to-end encryption and more.

 

  • Redaction 

Law enforcement agencies often need to redact certain events and personally identifiable information (PII) from evidence to identify the suspect. Effectively redact sensitive information from audios and videos before releasing them to the public and meeting compliance requirements such as GDPR, CJIS, CCPA, HIPAA and more. 

Learn about meeting CJIS compliance requirements with VIDIZMO

 

  • Autonomous Portals 

VIDIZMO provides different portals to make digital evidence sharing and management easy and fast. The four different portals available are Public Portal, Prosecutors Portal, Public-Defenders Portal, and Internal Affairs Portal. The Public Portal simplifies digital evidence collection and storage from Citizens and gives them a chance to contribute to the investigation process and get to the truth by crowdsourcing evidence. It enables officers to submit a request to citizens for evidence submission. The Key portal features that come in handy are single storage, audit trail, evidence triage, scalability, and reliability. DEMS can support as many evidence submissions as required; citizens can simultaneously upload as many evidence files as possible without limitations. 

Prosecutors Portal enables seamless evidence sharing and discovery process for prosecutors. It also allows prosecutors to collect and share digital evidence quickly and easily for solving cases. The Public-Defenders Portal streamlines evidence management for public defenders and empowers public defenders to promptly receive and manage evidence from prosecutors in a single location. Last but not least, Internal Affairs Portal ensures law enforcement integrity and protects the credibility of the law enforcement by covertly investigating allegations and monitoring officer activities.

 

  • Multiple System Integrations 

VIDIZMO integrates the system with any single sign-on provider, records management systems (RMS), content management systems (CMS), computer-aided dispatch (CAD), interview room recording systems, and more. Consolidates evidence from various sources, maximizes interoperability and reduce reporting time, maximizes efficiency and performance by integrating with an ever-growing number of IT Systems to improve adaptability and break down digital evidence silos. Additional features provided are single sign-on, records management systems, and integrated body-worn cameras with VIDIZMO to ingest recorded interactions with the public and collect video evidence at crime scenes directly. 

 

Conclusion 

Digital evidence software for police has become essential in the advancing digital era. As we saw above, VIDIZMO provides the best solution to setting aside conventional policing methods and getting on the field to bust some criminals fast and efficiently. Way to go, VIDIZMO! This system provides the first line of defense for the chain of custody and evidence integrity. VIDIZMO is a fully secure and industry-compliant solution for law enforcement agencies. It ensures efficient, accurate collection and storage of physical and digital evidence. Further, the system solidifies chain-of-command, manages convenience copies of forms and reports, metadata analysis, and reporting. In short, VIDIZMO DEMS provides tools to help you improve your workflow for managing evidence and related assets through an easy, user-friendly process.  Recognized in IDC MarketScape*, VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) streamlines the process of securing, managing, searching, analyzing, and sharing ever-increasing digital evidence.

So, if you want your officers to get a medal and your agency to be in the spotlight, then VIDIZMO is your choice. Any criminal on the go, catch them like a pro with VIDIZMO! 

Learn MoreContact Us

 

Posted by Maham Zaidi

Maham Zaidi 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.

Tags: Digital Evidence Management, Evidence Software for Police, Evidence Management Software

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