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Why Law Enforcement Agencies Need a Digital Evidence Management Portal

By Rabeea Tahir

Evidence management is one of law enforcement’s most critical tasks. With a fast-growing mass of digital evidence penetrating the legal space, prosecution and law enforcement agencies now face an ever-increasing challenge to store, manage and analyze an overwhelming amount of digital records.

Routine legal investigations and criminal prosecution now necessitate the utilization of digital evidence that comes in many forms. This commonly includes electronic documents, phone and audio recordings, camera pictures, as well as a mammoth of video evidence acquired from recently incorporated body-worn cameras, in-car cameras, surveillance footage, phone videos, interrogation room interviews, and more. More contemporary uses also include video obtained from unmanned drones and other aerial vehicles used to surveil regions and even chase suspects.   DEM Whitepaper

When presented in court, digital evidence not only needs to be in a consolidated format but also requires supplemental functions such as transcription, redaction, closed captioning and editing before it can be shown to a jury and other stakeholders. Additionally, the enormity of such content also requires efficient storage over a period, especially considering the need for archiving as well as data retention requirements. All media also needs to be maintained in a manner that it is easily searchable for discovery purposes, while also linking it to case management tools like a Customer Relationship Management System.

This poses challenges for law enforcement agencies attempting to manage their digital media as they are either strained with the high cost of outsourcing processes like transcription and redaction; or they struggle with internal inadequacy of expertise to manage the media amid little to no training, rotating personnel, low priority from administrators, and lack of evidence tracking.

Why Law Enforcement Agencies Need a Digital Evidence Management Portal

How does VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System address this dilemma?

VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management (DEM) System, built on Gartner-recognized Enterprise Video & Digital Media Management (EVCM) System, offers a comprehensive solution to all the aforementioned challenges faced by law enforcement agencies while managing digital evidence.

Unified media portal: VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System provides a centralized repository to ingest evidence in variable formats from any source, including the sheriff’s office, police, witnesses, and other external agencies.

Deployment options: All content is securely stored, either on-premises or on any customer-owned cloud. However, when installed in Microsoft Azure Commercial & Government Cloud, VIDIZMO DEM uses Microsoft Azure’s native, highly scalable platform services such as Azure Media Services and Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services. This also allows Microsoft Azure customers to automatically receive Microsoft Azure & Azure Media platform enhancements over time. Alternatively, on-premises deployment allows customers to leverage legacy systems and existing IT infrastructure, as the application is hosted behind a corporate firewall over customer’s private LAN, WAN and CDN.

Security and access: Security is undeniably the most crucial aspect of digital evidence management. With VIDIZMO DEM, we provide best-in-class security through enterprise single sign-on which leverages Active Directory or other directory sources of authority. In addition, VIDIZMO DEM provides complete control over all user actions and content access rights through its built-in Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), where users can be mapped to various roles, either manually or via an automated active directory synchronization process. Media can also be shared with external users using third-party logins, requiring authentication via Google, Microsoft or VIDIZMO ID.

Innovation and updates: Through a strategic alliance with Microsoft, VIDIZMO is able to benefit from all new product innovations and platform enhancement features added by Microsoft Azure Media Team. This includes state-of-the-art services like audio and video redaction, facial recognition as well as video OCR capabilities, to be released as part of Microsoft Video Analytics and Cognitive Vision features. All these features are on VIDIZMO’s roadmap and will be available for implementation for VIDIZMO customers as soon as Microsoft Azure makes them generally available.

Index and search: Once ingested and stored, all evidence is then catalogued, organized, tagged and linked to other case management tools. Users can then utilize VIDIZMO’s intelligent indexing and search capabilities to quickly locate or extract any media within seconds, thus speeding up investigations and dramatically shortening data search times.  

Transcription and closed captioning: VIDIZMO DEM automatically transcribes all videos using Azure Media Services while also allowing users to make edits to transcriptions. Machine generated transcription converts spoken words into searchable and indexable text, thereby speeding up evidence processing by avoiding long delays involved in human translation. This allows users to users to quickly search and jump to a spoken word within the transcribed text. Where required, VIDIZMO also enables closed captioning in videos, to add clarity to video and audio files, increase searchability and assists those with hearing disabilities.

Analytics: VIDIZMO DEM maintains detailed audit logs to keep track of all actions performed by users, giving administrators the ability to validate the integrity of the original source. Administrators also have the option to monitor progress using detailed user analytics and reports about consumption of content used for officer induction, training, and education.

Multi-device friendly: Once processed, content can be played across all devices for viewing by authorized users, including mobile phones, laptops, PCs, tablets, etc.

Auto file deletion: Administrators can set a time frame for content availability or expiration, depending on archiving requirements. Upon scheduled expiration of file retention period, the automatic deletion feature automatically deletes archived content.

Video editing and redaction: VIDIZMO provides a wide range of video editing features to make the content suitable for purposes of discovery access, dissemination and presentation to prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges. Redaction, which provides necessary identity protection in compliance with various laws such as Freedom of Information Act, is also currently on VIDIZMO’s roadmap.

Condense and analyze footage: With hyperlapse features also on VIDIZMO’s roadmap, VIDIZMO DEM would be able to generate quick summaries of surveillance footage to smooth out time-lapsed videos. Additionally, a deep analysis of the video snippets associated with motion events from surveillance cameras would allow law enforcement personnel to reduce false positives associated with an investigation involving digital evidence.

Live webcasts: With VIDIZMO, law enforcement agencies also have the option to use live webcasts to hold live sessions for broadcast or training, to address entire departments or other internal audiences such as police officers, DA staff or even Sheriff’s Office for organization-wide broadcast or training.

Adoption of VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System empowers law enforcement agencies with the ability to effectively and efficiently store, manage, analyze, distribute and archive all digital evidence and data related to legal and criminal investigations, all while observing the chain of custody requirements. This not only enables easy automation of evidence management but also bridges the gap between agency’s workflows while consistently maintaining high security of evidence at all times.

If you’d like to learn more about how VIDIZMO Digital Evidence Management System can help your organization, sign up for a free 30-day trial today or contact our team for a demonstration.

If you would like to review Garter Research’s analysis of VIDIZMO DEM, click here to contact us today.

DEM Whitepaper

Tags: Digital Evidence Management

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