Policing Is Becoming Digital: Is Your Agency Keeping Up?

On average, typical law enforcement incidents generate over 1TB of evidence, and the amount is exponentially increasing. Do you have the space, time, resources, and knowledge required to manage it? How long would it take you to find, organize, synthesize, analyze, and utilize all of the digital data associated with a single case? What falls through the cracks if you can’t manage it all?

 

In theory, more data should lead to better outcomes. But if you don’t have an easy, intelligent system in place to organize, protect, and analyze your data, you can’t use it – and in the worst-case scenario, your perpetrator will go free when the evidence to convict him was right under your nose.

 

Antiquated systems for managing digital evidence cost agencies time and money and cost communities justice. CDs and DVDs are manually copied, physically mailed, or personally transported in each step of the process. Discs deteriorate and get misplaced. Storing digital files on servers also poses problems. It’s difficult to find data by case number, uploader, or even date. The technology required to sort, analyze, and utilize data is much more complex than most home-grown data storage solutions can handle.

 

Some agencies are establishing better use of digital data through a mix of more sophisticated storage methods. But different types of evidence are often siloed in different storage solutions, so workflows remain largely manual and disconnected, despite using more advanced technology. The job of forensic specialists becomes even more challenging when digital files are stored in multiple formats not readable by the same software, and putting together disclosure packets for prosecution requires officers to mine multiple systems with the hope they don’t miss anything.

 

None of this data has any value if it can’t be easily accessed, shared, contextualized, and analyzed. The time involved in the manual processes required to sift through digital data in most departments is a growing cause of overtime costs, and the backlog of digital evidence at some agencies is months long. There are times when critical digital data simply doesn’t get to the prosecutor on time or at all.

 

The best solution to the digital data deluge is a robust, cloud-based digital evidence management system (DEMS). A purpose-built DEMS provides more than merely storage. It provides automation, intelligence, security, and transparency.

 

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