Mishandled criminal evidence is all too often a problem across the globe. In each instance, the public’s faith in the criminal justice system is severely eroded. Law enforcement property managers are often held responsible for these occurrences.
However, the reality is frequently more nuanced. Lack of resources might be a problem for appropriate evidence management in certain circumstances. Below are some of the best evidence management software on the market, along with their features, unique functionalities, and key benefits.
The failure to properly handle evidence is often the consequence of broader systemic issues with how law enforcement collects, analyzes, and stores its evidence. An average of 1.5TB of evidence is generated in today’s law enforcement or security incidents, which may make it overwhelming to maintain correct documentation, maintain chain of custody, or uncover evidence (AWS Cloud, 2021). These issues are what evidence management software solutions aim to solve.
Digital photographs, video surveillance, body camera footage, audio recordings, and filmed interviews are all types of evidence that police officers and criminal investigators keep track of using evidence management software. Standard features include police records, reports from forensics and labs, CAD narratives, and more.
Evidence management systems help authorities develop more efficient workflows by concentrating evidence into a single hub for simple file access and sharing, preserving a chain of custody and ensuring that an accurate audit trail is always accessible. It is common for these platforms to also have the capacity to evaluate current digital data. And, they can also work seamlessly with other digital tools such as crime analysis software solutions. This enables investigators to identify connections more quickly, develop new leads, and solve cases.
In 2021, a survey of law enforcement personnel, forensic lab examiners, investigators, and agency managers revealed that there is a need for more effective tools to accelerate time for evidence (Cellebrite, 2021).
Among evidence management challenges, handling DVDs, CDs, USB drives, and paper case files are considered the top challenge by FBI members and other police executives (NICE Public Safety and FBI National Academy Associates, 2019).
Source: NICE Public Safety and FBI National Academy Associates
More efficient evidence management through a software solution holds the key to resolving these. Handling evidence using DVDs, for example, takes a lot of time as different versions need to be created—DVDs worth a proprietary original video, DVDs with transcoded versions, and DVDs with redacted versions (NICE Public Safety and FBI National Academy Associates, 2019).
As the variety of digital evidence grows, the need for robust evidence management platforms also becomes more important. Aside from the increased cost of gathering, filtering, and sharing this high volume of evidence, it makes the system more vulnerable to evidence tampering. Fortunately, with the prevalence of digital evidence platforms, users can automate processes as well as effectively track every piece of evidence.
While evidence management can streamline processes, you still have to check the specific features that each software offers. In particular, if your work entails unlocking digital evidence, you have to take into account that the investigation of digital evidence presents a huge challenge as it involves unlocking devices and accessing data from encrypted apps.
Source: 2021 Digital Intelligence Benchmark Report
Another important area in evidence management is the chain of custody documentation as it is the most critical process of evidence documentation. Evidence management software provides an efficient chain of custody documentation that can safeguard evidence.
Evidence management software uses barcoding tools in facilitating a more effective chain of custody. The evidence tracking technology of evidence management software also ensures that investigators will not be overwhelmed by the task of organizing evidence for each crime under investigation. In 2021, however, the FBI was not able to release quarterly crime stats due to a lack of data from agencies.
Documenting evidence requires time. On average, it takes investigators 48 hours to review digital evidence (Cellebrite, 2021). By streamlining and automating evidence collection, sharing, and processing, evidence management software significantly cuts the time that it takes to document every piece of evidence.
Source: 2021 Digital Intelligence Benchmark Report
The use of evidence management software is crucial for the efficient functioning of the criminal justice system. Over 90% of public safety agencies agree that having a central intelligence hub is essential to gain insights and model processes, people, and assets. (Accenture, 2021).
The management of evidence using technology allows investigators to review evidence and effectively share them with prosecutors and other specialists. Poor management, on the other hand, undermines the right to a fair trial. Evidence management software is poised to improve the methods and techniques, as well as the scope of criminal investigations.
Genetec Clearance is a digital evidence management system that is designed to assist law enforcement officers in the organization of case files and evidence. It eliminates the need to copy data to DVDs or shared storage, which enables organizations to easily and securely transmit evidence. This guarantees that only authorized personnel within and outside the organization can access critical information. Digital evidence might be overwhelming for law enforcement, but Clearance makes it easier for them to go through it. From a single application, they can manage cases and files, allow immediate access to evidence, and guarantee that information is only shared with authorized stakeholders.
Since its inception by law enforcement officials in 2011, iCrimeFighter has been a leader in the field of Digital Evidence Management Software (DEMS). It eliminates the need to burn CDs, DVDs, and other media, allowing police officers, attorneys, and other stakeholders to easily share evidence. For cops, the iCrimeFighter mobile apps enable them to capture and upload digital evidence from the field. Since the software takes care of everything, they don’t have to worry about maintaining their digital cameras, audio recorders, video cameras, or note pads. As an additional feature, the Evidence Anywhere module delivers a secure link through email, and the recipient can safely upload digital evidence into the case file. This service is often utilized to gather evidence from retailers that provide photos and videos to police agencies through iCrimeFighter.
ACISS Web Property & Evidence is a comprehensive solution that can be used to manage and monitor all forms of investigative property and evidence, from the time it is submitted until it is discarded. This module allows for integrated bar coding and indexing of inventory, as well as a simplified disposal procedure, which allows for the efficient removal of irrelevant inventory. It is adaptable for usage in departments of any size. The platform is able to serve numerous units within a single organization as well as manage the property of different organizations simultaneously using a single system. ACISS Property & Evidence enables the fast and straightforward finding of any and all property objects that have been inventoried, ensuring that teams and departments are ready for an audit at a moment’s notice.
Because it stores all of the important information and documents in one location, Altia Insight is able to recognize patterns, unearth connections, and cohesively manage investigative data. This, in turn, assists in the resolution of crimes and the preparation of documents that are ready for court. It is made very easy to follow the progression of investigations, as well as allocate resources and share information both within the team and with other organizations. The end-to-end evidence management software provides a modern and efficient solution to an otherwise complex process.
Axon Evidence simplifies the process of connecting and managing expanding collections of data, including video, images, documents, and more, under a single and secure system by providing extensive intake, smooth playback, and easy search capabilities. It makes it simple to investigate evidence in more depth and get finer insights into the locations and timespan during which evidence was gathered. Axon Performance allows investigators to analyze metrics in near-real-time as well as review indicators that have been tuned for reporting. The software also provides a sophisticated case management experience, including bulk actions, access limits, automatic recommendations, AI-based redaction, and transcription. The ability to offer access to external partners or distribute material with a secure link is available to departments or organizations. And since this is the only scalable solution on the market designed specifically for public defense and prosecutors, they may exchange evidence with their frequent collaborators without any hassle.
Motorola Solutions provides an entire family of products that allows police and other law enforcement organizations to manage data across their entire operation. The data pertaining to incidents and 911 calls, as well as sensor information, radio logs, pictures, and videos, are consolidated, intelligently structured, and can be digitally shared in order to reduce complexity, achieve compliance, and boost productivity. The next-generation records and evidence management solution is created for modern operations. It automates organization while simplifying sharing of evidence and similar assets across teams, institutions, and other stakeholders.
Condor Investigate aids in the recording and administration of all phases of an investigation, including planning, gathering evidence, and information, producing a brief, and managing the results. It is a flexible solution that is designed to support the collection, sharing, and tracking of information. This helps improve accountability and communication within teams and across departments. Condor Investigate is built for the highly complex and non-linear nature of investigations. By simplifying operations, stakeholders can eliminate bottlenecks and save time. This can be accomplished by storing all relevant information in a single system and allowing several users to monitor and evaluate investigations at the same time.
With VeriPic Digital Evidence Manager, law enforcement agencies are able to handle all case data in a centralized location from any device and location of their choosing. In a single location, officers can manage evidence from several different systems and devices. They can also benefit from features like audit trails, security, and encryption. Connect several places without using any specialized networks or virtual private network connections (VPN). Along with VeriPic’s mobile application, cops can capture photos, videos, and audio statements without any specialized device.
Digital TraQ by QueTel makes it easy to augment physical evidence items through digital assets captured via video surveillance, body-worn cameras, digital cameras, audio recordings, and more. Police officers and similar users do not need to rely on DVDs and similar media anymore. Investigators, prosecutors, and other stakeholders can easily copy, access, and refile evidence using the platform. Aside from raw digital files of evidence, the software can store and manage video enhancements, forensic images, and other evidentiary documents.
EvidenceOnQ gives organizations the ability to handle property and evidence in an effective manner during their entire lifecycles. It lessens the amount of paper used, eliminates repeated labor efforts, reduces the number of handwritten documents, and automates the chain of custody. Every department facet will benefit from the time savings and increased productivity afforded by having a user-configurable system that can be tailored to meet their specific requirements. It ensures that there is a clear and unbroken chain of custody and full accountability while all certification requirements are met.
EvidenceWorks is the preeminent software application for the handling of digital evidence in the United Kingdom. It offers safe, strong storage capabilities, as well as data exchange features, assisting law enforcement agencies and other companies in lowering the risk of data loss. Additionally, it helps save money since there is no longer a need to locally store or manually transport media. It serves as a centralized repository of evidence assets captured from body cams, CCTVs, and other sources.
Kaseware’s evidence inventory system makes it easy for police officers and agencies to handle both physical and digital evidence from anywhere at any time. The top-of-the-line software offers users a consolidated area for data relating to investigations, making it possible for them to record evidence more effectively than before. It is equipped with smart auto-fill functions, which do away with the need to manually enter several items for the same case number. With more efficient methods of evidence handling, organizations have the ability to develop new leads, unearth critical connections, and ultimately solve cases more quickly.
PMI Evidence Tracker is a powerful evidence management system that gives law enforcement agencies an inexpensive, versatile, and easy-to-use application for managing evidence and property. Police officers designed the system for police officers, and it can significantly lessen the burden on officers by providing a simple solution to a difficult situation. PMI Evidence Tracker gives law enforcement agencies access to the evidence management system that is the most user-friendly for law enforcement officers currently available on the market. This allows for increased levels of security and peace of mind.
Fotoware makes it easy for police organizations to find and manage digital evidence assets of any type while providing features to share them securely. Using mobile, tablet, and desktop devices, the platform makes it simple to upload evidence straight to the system. Using the RESTful API, users can connect to third-party systems and build custom integrations that optimize their operations even more. It also connects with other mission-critical systems like case management and records management. Even more importantly, the FotoWare mobile app for police and law enforcement allows officers to retrieve evidentiary files from any device, including their own body-worn cameras, unmanned drones, and more.
The end-to-end solutions provided by Omnigo simplify the process of managing evidence, allowing law enforcement personnel to maintain a chain of custody and handle property from the time it is received until it is disposed of using nearly any device. Teams and organizations now have a centralized location from which they can generate, share, and convert files and reports. In addition to this, they are able to report on the chain of custody while having simple access to all pertinent data. Furthermore, it makes it simpler for police forces to engage and include the community in a variety of initiatives and projects.
The WOLFCOM Evidence Management System (WEMS) is a user-friendly, feature-rich, and CJIS-compliant software application that is used by hundreds of police departments and security organizations all over the globe. Through an intuitive interface, it makes the process of managing data like videos, audio, photographs, and documents simpler for law enforcement officials. Users who have been granted the relevant permissions and powers are able to produce audit trail reports, inspect, tag, and check the asset’s integrity. They can also automatically remove files in accordance with the department’s retention regulations, among many other capabilities.
Cellebrite Guardian is a cloud-based system that is easy, safe, and scalable for the management, sharing, and evaluation of evidence. This technology allows law enforcement to manage evidence and the investigation process regardless of where they are located. The platform provides them with a highly secure and compliant solution to assist, organize, store, share, and evaluate evidence, beginning with the first intake and continuing through the review and final report. It was designed by and for users. Review all of the videos, photographs, audio, documents, and conversations that were submitted as part of the UFDR report from any device, anywhere in the world.
The Hytera Digital Evidence Management (DEM) system enables the centralized management of multimedia evidence, such as audio recordings, videos, and still photographs acquired by body-worn cameras (BWCs) sported by law enforcement officials. It stores evidence in a centralized or distributed location. It also simplifies the process of viewing, downloading, editing, and sharing evidentiary files. The service allows for large-capacity cloud data storage and capacity expansion without adding a new point of failure. It protects evidence by encrypting it with AES256 and implementing many levels of access control to stop anybody from gaining illegal access.
MatterSuite is a legal evidence management software that organizes cases into their component elements for ease of use. Using the cloud, law enforcement organizations can keep track of, search for, and analyze every piece of a case in order to build compelling prosecutions. Evidence management can be centralized by a thorough audit of a case and the systematic storage of every piece of information. The platform gathers and consolidates data from many sources, making it easier to manage and use.
SAFE is an innovative evidence tracking system that will streamline, optimize, and safeguard the handling of physical and digital evidence. It is built with features and capabilities that allow law enforcement to fully control all areas of evidence management, from collection through disposal. The evidence tracker contains over 100 widgets that allow users to easily obtain extensive information about any evidence. They can also create their own widgets using SAFE’s custom functionality. Save any search as a Widget, so users don’t have to re-enter the same information over and again.
Over the course of the last several decades, the criminal justice system has become more reliant on forensic science and evidence, which has resulted in an increase in the amount of work for law enforcement property management. The chain of custody must be maintained at all times when employees and officers work through the various stages of the process of evidence management to ensure that forensic materials do not get contaminated, deteriorate, or otherwise compromised in any way.
Historically, evidence management relied on paper and was somewhat laborious to execute. It requires a significant amount of man-hours of categorizing as well as writing documentation. However, evidence management tools are now available to make this crucial procedure more efficient and less time-consuming.
With the best evidence management software, law enforcement agencies can handle digital and physical evidence without using paper. It’s an essential component of law enforcement software that enables police departments to leverage the latest digital innovations in their field and build trust for their ranks among the population they serve. It makes use of cloud technology, which stores data in a safe manner and enables users to use the system from anywhere, even in the field. Officers, for instance, can use their smartphones to snap pictures and videos, record and document interviews, and input barcodes from driver’s licenses into the system while still on the site of the incident. Modern solutions make these otherwise complex processes more efficient while increasing accuracy and compliance.