Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) Success Guide

Digital Evidence Management Made Easy

Truth & Justice Often Lies in Digital Evidence
The facts are hard to ignore: a 4-million plus backlog in court cases in the U.S. and thousands of cases dismissed due to evidence problems.

At the center of this struggle is growing digital evidence management. With ninety percent of digital evidence created in just the last two years, the criminal justice system is having a tough time keeping pace. And this invariably translates into slower justice for victims.

The volume, velocity, and variety of digital evidence is growing at an exponential rate. Technological innovations are creating more digital evidence every day – body-worn cameras, license plate readers, in-car cameras, surveillance cameras, ring doorbell cameras, CCTV, ALPR, interview room and 911 recordings, gunshot detection, drones, in-car video, internet-connected smart devices, cell phones, social media, RMS, CAD, and the list goes on. Criminal justice has become entangled in this quagmire of technologies which are creating a tsunami of digital evidence that is becoming increasingly difficult to manage.

But at the end of the day, the pursuit of justice depends on the truth, and finding that truth relies on digital evidence. Still, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, public defenders, and courts all waste enormous amounts of time interacting with digital evidence – storing it, collecting it, analyzing it, uploading it, downloading it, printing it, sharing it, retrieving it, redacting it, copying it, physically transporting it from place to place, making it playable. This explosive growth of digital evidence, combined with the disjointed systems and manual processes used to manage it, are getting in the way – creating friction, obscuring the truth, and causing delays.

So how can criminal justice agencies get a better handle on managing digital evidence to ensure timely justice, and arrive at the truth faster?

The answer can be found in Digital Evidence Management.

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In this eBook we explore 12 ways that Digital Evidence Management is transforming policing and prosecution across the criminal justice spectrum, using real-life examples.

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  1. What is Digital Evidence Management?
It’s important to note that Digital Evidence Management isn’t simply about helping any one agency overcome digital evidence obstacles. It connects every agency on the public safety and criminal justice continuum (law enforcement, prosecutors, public defenders, courts, and corrections) together to streamline the flow of digital evidence, so justice can flow more smoothly, from incident to court.

With the right Digital Evidence Management System, agencies can:
Extract More Value
Extract more value and insights from the digital evidence and case management systems they already have
Empower People
Empower people to collaborate and work together in new ways, by enabling digital evidence to flow more smoothly and securely, within and across all public safety and justice agencies
Save Money
Save money and free up resources by moving Digital Evidence Management to the cloud
Automate Processes
Automate end-to-end processes around managing digital evidence to provide timelier, better justice for citizens and communities
“Policing is changing, and nearly every job now has a digital element attached to it. We are experiencing a massive increase in the digital information being collected, as well as the amount of data that we were generating ourselves.”
Yvonne Rainford
Detective Chief Inspector Nottinghamshire Police
Evidencentral for Digital Evidence Management
NICE Evidencentral
Leading the Way and Breaking New Ground in Digital Evidence Management
NICE’s award-winning Evidencentral Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Digital Evidence Management Solution is a cloud-based end-to-end digital transformation platform that’s revolutionizing how agencies manage digital evidence, from the time an incident happens, until cases are successfully prosecuted.

NICE Evidencentral applies analytics and workflow automation to every stage of the criminal justice process, breaking down digital evidence silos and collaboration barriers. By providing a clear, cohesive view of the truth, NICE Evidencentral is helping criminal justice agencies around the globe do what they do better – whether it’s responding to incidents, investigating and building cases, or prosecuting crimes.

As a comprehensive Digital Evidence Management Solution that can be deployed across entire cities, counties and states, NICE Evidencentral is helping everyone work better together, so justice can flow more smoothly, from incident to court.

To date, NICE Evidencentral has captured over fifty million incidents, and supported over six million investigations involving twenty-five million-plus evidence items. Agencies that have deployed NICE Evidencentral have experienced a 50% boost in intake and discovery productivity, and saved thousands of hours annually due to efficiency gains.
  1. Main Challenges of Digital Evidence Management
When we speak with customers, conversations pertaining to digital evidence using start off focused on the challenges of evidence storage, but agencies are quickly coming to realize that the complexities of managing digital evidence are much broader than that.

There are three main challenges involved in managing digital evidence: collection, analysis, and sharing.

1. Digital Evidence Collection

Evidence CollectionIn the digital world we’ve all grown accustomed to you would think it would be easy, but collecting digital evidence turns out to be very manual and time consuming. as mentioned above, today, digital evidence collection typically involves sending emails, placing phone calls, filling out forms, physically driving to pick up evidence, or logging on to many different systems.

A recent survey (The Digital Frontline: Rethinking the use of data and information in modern policing), puts numbers to the digital evidence silo problem. according to the report, “one of the most significant drawbacks of existing police software, aside from poor search functionality, is the disconnected nature of the systems” (also referred to in the report as chair swiveling,) which results in “duplication and is very time-consuming.” when asked how many different systems they typically needed to log into to work on cases, 95% of survey respondents said at least two systems, and 25% said they needed to log into anywhere between six and more than eleven.

Physical trips to pick up evidence have also proven to be a time and resource drain. for example, one of the law enforcement agency told us that their officers were stretched thin, making over 10,000 trips each week just to pick up digital evidence.

With Evidencentral’s public portal, digital evidence, including CCTV video, can be easily crowdsourced from businesses and citizens without ever having to leave the office. additionally, because the open Evidencentral digital management software platform is able to integrate to other digital evidence systems, the evidence collection and case building process is automated. the system automatically seeks out, finds and deposits relevant digital evidence from all connected (structured and unstructured) data sources and puts it into digital case folders, ready for investigator viewing.

2. Digital Evidence Analysis

Evidence CollectionSuccessful investigations rely on an investigator’s ability to connect the dots across many types of digital evidence. the problem is – digital evidence is stored in silos. while investigators can extract and analyze data from individual systems, they do not have analytical solutions that work across them.

Investigators often spend grueling hours manually sifting through digital evidence to put it into proper context.

A digital evidence management system can reach across all structured and unstructured data sources and apply analytics to make connections the investigator can act on. furthermore, the digital evidence management system solution doesn’t just look at data in one silo; it uses a correlation engine to relate that data to data in other silos, to find hidden connections and bring back every potentially relevant piece of evidence.

Digital evidence management systems like Evidencentral can also search within the content of records to pull back evidence too. for example, an investigator can use the digital evidence management system to search by key words or phrases and automatically find records (e.g. audio recordings, narratives from cad comments, incident reports, fi cards, etc.) that contain specific words or tags. absent a digital evidence management system, an investigator would need to read or listen to each item in entirety.

Aanother benefit of the digital evidence management solution is that it enables investigators to correlate current and past cases. for example, if an individual was mentioned in another case, the digital evidence management system would automatically bring that information to the investigator’s attention.

Finally, the digital evidence management system provides enhanced visualization tools so investigators can visualize evidence in meaningful ways, for example on timelines or maps. an investigator can select any number of multimedia files from the virtual case folder, add them to a timeline, visualize them, and synchronously play them back.

3. Digital Evidence Sharing

Evidence CollectionThe rapid growth in digital evidence has also created growing pains as law enforcement agencies navigate how to efficiently share evidence with district attorneys who need it to support successful prosecutions. Investigators can spend hours copying digital evidence onto CDs, DVDs and thumb drives, and hand delivering it to prosecutors. Prosecutors also need to disclose case evidence to public defenders in a timely manner to meet disclosure deadlines, and most of this is done in a manual way today.

Digital Evidence Management Systems address these issues by bringing digital evidence sharing into the digital age. Instead of copying evidence onto physical media, investigators can share access to evidence simply by emailing a read-only link to a digital case file. Accordingly, prosecutors can also share digital evidence with defense attorneys in a similar fashion. The system automatically tracks who accessed what and when, to ensure evidence was received and to protect its chain of custody.
Let’s face it. Today, investigators are under enormous pressure to close cases faster, and comply with tougher disclosure requirements. Budgets are getting tighter too, so police departments need to do more with less.

Investigators also have more digital evidence than ever to contend with – body-worn video, CCTV, interview room and 911 recordings, in-car video, evidence from cell phones, and social media. To collect evidence, investigators need to send emails, place phone calls, fill out paperwork, log into a dozen or so systems, and wait for reports.

While patrol officers do most of their work in RMS and police dispatchers work in CAD, until the advent of Digital Evidence Management police investigators didn’t have one platform to do their work in. They needed to log into lots of different systems to pull the digital evidence they needed. And what they could not access on their own (for example, 911 recordings) they’d need to request from other departments manually.

Consider also these audio recordings, and body-worn video too, can impact how domestic violence cases are handled. Still, under ordinary circumstances, it can take up to two to three weeks to get a copy of a 911 call. And even when body-worn video cameras have been docked and the footage has been uploaded, it’s still not immediately viewable and accessible to investigators. The investigating officer needs to manually request this evidence from specialized units or external agencies. If redaction is required, or specific clips need to be pulled, this adds more steps and time to the process, during which a suspect can walk free.

If CCTV is needed for an investigation, officers need to get in their car and physically drive to the crime scene, and canvas the location. If they find video, they need to copy it onto a CD and transport it back to the office. When they arrive at the office, they oftentimes find it is not even playable. So, converting the video takes even more time.

Next, to start building the case, they have to sift through all the discs and folders and separate systems containing videos, narratives, and lab reports. But because the evidence is in various formats on different media, it can take hours, or even days, to piece it all together. And this does not even take into account the endless trips back and forth to the property room to pick up evidence and drop it off.

Finally, it is time to share the evidence. And more time is wasted copying it onto more discs and paper which need to be hand-delivered to the DA.

A NICE law enforcement Digital Evidence Management benchmark study confirmed that all of these manual processes associated with digital evidence were major concerns for police departments.
Collecting CCTV
About 66% of respondents acknowledged “driving around to collect CCTV video from homes and businesses” and “copying and burning CDs and DVDs” as the most time-consuming aspects of the criminal investigation process.
Logging in to Data Silos
All survey respondents reported having to log into and work in a large number of data silos which impacted the speed of investigations.
NICE Evidencentral for Law Enforcement
With NICE Evidencentral, investigators get a single, unified view of digital evidence that is aggregated, transcoded, indexed, virus-checked, correlated, and connected. NICE Evidencentral’s Digital Evidence Management is the glue that joins digital evidence systems together. It does this by providing a one-stop shop for gathering evidence. Investigators no longer need to waste time logging on to many different systems to manually collect evidence.

And because it sits on top of other digital evidence systems, NICE Evidencentral can even automate the case-building process – by automatically searching across all connected data sources for evidence. In fact, experience shows that ninety percent of commonly requested evidence can be collected and retrieved through a single log-on, saving on average 10 to 15 hours for per investigator each week. As soon as the investigator logs in, the evidence is waiting in an electronic case folder and ready for viewing.

Evidence CollectionUsing analytics, NICE Evidencentral can even search within the contents of records, and through historical evidence items and cases to establish connections that might otherwise be missed. In fact, one police department told us that NICE Evidencentral matched evidence items to cases correctly one hundred percent of the time, and even unearthed a stunning twenty percent of additional evidence that was previously missed.

NICE Evidencentral also eliminates all of the manual work processes around collecting, analyzing, and sharing digital evidence that can slow your investigators down. There is no more converting digital evidence into physical copies. Digital evidence stays digital.

Furthermore, NICE Evidencentral’s automated workflows meant investigators can request and receive evidence electronically. There is no more driving around, phoning, filling out forms, or waiting. One police department estimated that NICE Evidencentral could eliminate 4,500 trips per week to collect CCTV evidence.

Evidence CollectionMore households and businesses are employing doorbell cameras and outside surveillance systems with 24/7 recording. NICE Evidencentral also offers a way for citizens and businesses to register these cameras and share video evidence with investigators through a secure portal – all without requiring officers to travel to the scene or copy video onto physical media.

Investigators can instantly pull up a list of registered cameras within an incident radius, and send out a request to a business, community group, or homeowner to upload video. Uploaded video is automatically transcoded (so it is immediately playable). In fact, one police force using NICE Evidencentral reported being able to make an arrest within 45 minutes of a drive-by shooting because they were able to secure CCTV video so quickly.

According to a Nielsen survey conducted by NICE, ninety-five percent of Americans polled said they would be willing to share pictures, videos, tips or other evidence if they witnessed a crime or serious incident. But the solutions employed by most police departments today make this difficult to do. In contrast, investigators can create a public appeal on NICE Evidencentral’s Community Portal for any active investigation in seconds, enabling citizens to easily upload videos, photos, and tips. The process retains valuable metadata information, including time/ date and location. Uploaded content is automatically virus-checked before being securely stored in the cloud, and investigators are alerted when new case evidence is uploaded so they can immediately review and act on it.

Through its ability to automatically correlate and pull relevant audio recordings of emergency calls and body-worn video into cases, the Digital Evidence Management System can also eliminate long wait times for evidence, and hours wasted phoning, emailing, and filling out forms. This can be especially helpful in domestic violence cases where body-worn video and 911 recordings are crucial to assembling the picture of what happened.

Under normal circumstances, it can take days to receive requested video and audio recordings. During that time, an offender can be released. Having access to this evidence while the offender is in custody, and being able to replay it during a custodial interview can significantly enhance the investigator’s ability to obtain an early charging decision (before an offender can be released).

View In Context
Evidence CollectionEvidence Management Systems like NICE Evidencentral also enable investigators to view evidence (multimedia files including audio and video) in context and in meaningful ways – for example on timelines and maps, and synchronously play the multimedia content back. Investigators can also redact sensitive information from video and audio evidence without having to send files to third parties, or navigate different systems.

And because digital evidence is stored in the cloud, it can be shared much more easily too. Ordinarily, it could take between thirty minutes to eight hours for an investigator to prepare, copy and organize case evidence for a prosecutor. With NICE Evidencentral, an investigator can securely and electronically share evidence with prosecutors in no time at all, simply by emailing a secure link to a digital case file. The system automatically tracks who accessed what and when, to ensure chain of custody.

In fact, by automating all of these manual tasks, NICE Evidencentral can save as much as eight to sixteen hours per investigator per week - time that can be spent following up with victims and witnesses, solving crimes, and closing cases faster.
“We’ve transitioned our processes from officers traveling to collect digital evidence on a disc or USB to being able to do all of this online. As well as eliminating unnecessary risks around handling media and traveling to various locations, this also means our officers are able to review vital evidence faster.”
Jason Devonport
Superintendent North Wales Police

NICE Evidencentral for Law Enforcement

The Evidencentral Digital Evidence Management System solves these problems for law enforcement. Watch the video to learn more.

Evidencentral for Law Enforcement
Evidencentral for Law Enforcement Play Video
Digital Evidence Management
Supporting Swifter Justice in the Community
In the UK, fifteen police forces have teamed up with well-known health and beauty retailer and pharmacy chains, like Boots, to extend the benefits of Digital Evidence Management Software to support swifter justice and safety for the entire community. Law enforcement and businesses are collaborating to speed the delivery of justice, by ensuring fast, seamless sharing of CCTV video and other digital evidence.

The initiative is being driven in part by the National Business Crime Centre, a UK resource created out of Home Office Police Transformation Funding to improve the partnership between the business community and police.

When businesses register within Evidencentral, they are able to easily share videos with participating UK police forces.
  1. Prosecution and Digital Evidence

As we meet with prosecutors around the world, one of the most pressing challenges they face is the overwhelming volume of digital evidence that’s getting tougher to manage by the day. And while digital evidence and caseloads continue to grow, many offices are also being hit hard by budgetary and staffing cutbacks. 

Digital evidence is essential to the work prosecutors do every day. But as it grows, managing digital evidence is getting in the way of timely justice.

In the COVID pandemic’s wake, and following extended periods of court shutdowns and reduced operating capacity, case backlogs have grown to unprecedented levels, which could take years to clear. Compounding this crisis, prosecutor’s offices, which were experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining attorneys before the pandemic, are facing even more acute staffing shortages. Turnover rates are going up as staff retire or leave, and it is becoming harder to fill vacancies with qualified applicants.

The president of one state District Attorney’s association likened the situation to filling a swimming pool with a hose, and at the same time trying to bail it out with a bucket. With prosecutors juggling hundreds of cases at a time, the impossible workload is negatively impacting case resolutions, delaying justice, and demoralizing staff.

If case backlogs and staffing challenges weren’t big enough problems, prosecutors are also having to contend with more digital evidence than ever, and managing it using inefficient, often manual processes.

Prosecution and Digital Evidence

A prosecutor workshop panel convened by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), RTI International and the RAND Corporation confirmed that staffing and growing digital information are two top pain points for prosecutors. The resulting report (Prosecutor Priorities, Challenges and Solutions) stated:

“The introduction of digital content and body-worn cameras has produced large amounts of potential evidence that prosecutors’ offices have to obtain, manage, and store, often at great expense. Prosecutors today must contend with challenges associated with increasing volumes of data and evidence that have developed from technological advancements.“

Key Digital Evidence Challenges for Prosecutors
Here are some of the key digital evidence challenges that prosecutors face daily:
1. Evidence Sharing

Law enforcement agencies share evidence with prosecutors in a variety of ways which ultimately makes it harder for them to manage and make sense of it.

There’s extraordinarily little uniformity or standardization when it comes to how prosecutor’s offices receive digital evidence, and that’s because different law enforcement agencies manage and share it in diverse ways. In a prosecutor’s office supports twenty-seven different police departments, it’s quite possible that office could be receiving case evidence in twenty-seven different ways.

2. Sharing Methods

The intake process is bogged down by evidence arriving on many differtent methods, like discs, USB drives, and paper or through uploads to FTP sites, Dropbox folders, and other miscellaneous methods.

All of this evidence needs to be uploaded, copied, and scanned into other systems, or placed on shared network drives or in physical folders. Beyond the obvious disadvantages of slowing down cases and consuming time and resources, these gyrations of manual data handling create even more work downstream, and increase the chances for evidence to go missing, or worse, for cases to be thrown out of court.

3. Manual Processes

Evidence handling is mired in time-wasting manual processes. Highly-skilled prosecutors and paralegals are valuable resources. Still, they waste considerable time on clerical duties that involve collecting, downloading, uploading, scanning, dragging and dropping, organizing, indexing, categorizing, tracking, filling out forms, and calling to request evidence, or even driving from location to location to pick it up.

One prosecutor’s office even related instances of prosecutors receiving hard copy paper reports from police investigators, and then scanning and emailing the reports to themselves just so they could upload them to their case management system.

4. Missing Evidence

Missing evidence is a constant worry. Missing evidence can compromise a prosecutor’s ability to win a case, or cause a reversal of a conviction on appeal. Still, the manual processes for requesting evidence (calling, emailing, filling out forms, driving to pick it up or logging into a variety of cloud drives to retrieve it), the fact that evidence is stored in so many different places, the primitive methods for tracking it, the ongoing nature of receiving it, and all of the different ways it comes in – all contribute to the possibility that evidence can be missed.

Even with endless follow up and diligence, it’s impossible to be certain if evidence has been missed, and even harder to know when new evidence is available.

5. Video Tools

Prosecutors lack the tools to play, redact and transcribe video. One of the fastest growing sources of digital evidence is video.

With the growing use of CCTV and other sources of video (body-worn, in-car, interview room, smartphone, even home security cameras), it’s not surprising that video evidence is involved in eighty percent of cases. But as essential as video is, it can also stretch resources and slow cases down. Without the right video codec, the first obstacle prosecutors encounter is even being able to play it at all. To make proprietary video playable, prosecutors either need to hand video over to an external resource or scour the Internet for the proprietary codec themselves.

6. Discovery Process

Discovery is time-consuming, rigorous, and challenging too. Prosecutor’s offices are under more pressure than ever to produce discoverable evidence across more evidence sources, and share that evidence in earlier stages of cases.

Prosecutors who run afoul of discovery laws put viable cases at risk of being dismissed. For all the focus on timely discovery though, it is still a lengthy and expensive manual process fraught with potential for error. Because the digital evidence comes into prosecutor’s office in different ways in different formats at different times, and because there’s a lot of it, producing discovery in short time frames can be especially challenging.

7. Inefficiency

Today, discovery is the picture of inefficiency. Typically it involves copying digital evidence (which office staff so painstakingly uploaded into various systems and storage servers previously) back onto CDs, DVDs and other physical media (which then need to be picked up, couriered or mailed to defense counsel), or alternatively, moving files to temporary cloud drives (which are then made available to defense). And any time new evidence is added to a case, staff needs to repeat the process all over again.

All of these factors can contribute to cost over-runs and discovery errors, lapses and case backlogs.

8. Evidence Sharing

Large file sizes compound evidence-sharing problems. Large files, especially video files, are extremely difficult to receive or share on CDs and DVDs.

They often need to be split into multiple files on multiple DVDs which can be a hassle to re-assemble.

Digital Evidence Management is Central to the Work of Justice

Digital Evidence Management is Central

In a recent prosecutor survey undertaken by NICE, many respondents reiterated the pressing nature of these and other problems. This survey revealed that while Digital Evidence Management is central to the work of justice, there is a lot of room for improvement (in terms of the limited solutions that prosecutor’s offices employ today).

The survey confirmed that case backlogs are a mounting concern for everyone. Survey participants were asked if their “case backlog had increased or decreased during the past year?” Nearly two-thirds of prosecutors surveyed reported that their case backlogs had increased over the past year, the majority further stating that the increases were significant. Respondents were also asked about the size of their current case backlog. The majority cited case backlogs of between 100 and 500 cases, with 10 percent of prosecutors noting an astounding backlog over 1,000 cases or more.

Another issue that slows prosecutors down is the sheer number of systems they need to work in when reviewing digital evidence and preparing for trial.

When asked “how many different systems or interfaces [they needed to] access to work with evidence (e.g. creating video/audio/document redactions, clips, transcriptions, enhancements, etc.), the majority of prosecutors responding to the survey stated they used between two and five different systems to do their work, with thirty-one percent reporting they needed to log into as many as five to ten disparate systems. This work includes uploading digital evidence into and downloading evidence from different systems.

In spite of this, in many instances prosecutors still lack direct access to the tools they need to perform their job. As a result, they may have to create and send out work requests to other internal specialists or external firms, which can cause even more delays.

For example, they might need videos transcoded to make them playable, video and audio clips created, recordings transcribed, documents and audio/video redacted, photos enhanced, and so on. Each of these requests can take days or weeks to process, which can further delay the justice process.

The survey also confirmed that the potential for missing evidence was also a constant worry for prosecutors. Just how big of a problem is it? We asked the prosecutors surveyed how often they find themselves “ duplicating efforts or repeating steps like checking that [they] have all evidence on a case.” Nearly all of those surveyed cited having to frequently duplicate work-steps to recheck for evidence. The survey reveals this is a systemic issue. The fact that more than a quarter of respondents found themselves duplicating steps on every single case is alarming.

The survey also revealed that long-term retention of digital evidence comes with its own set of challenges and unresolved issues. Two-thirds of the prosecutors agreed that long-term retention and retrieval of evidence was tedious, costly and challenging.

Prosecutors’ offices generally have to follow city, state, or county-level guidelines for how long evidence must be kept. In most cases, the policies dictate two to five years (depending on the type of crime), although in some states, like Alaska, the requirements are more stringent. Some agencies may even elect to take a more cautionary stance to limit the potential for liability.

The problem is – today, digital evidence for closed cases is stored on a lot of different mediums, and in a lot of different places. You can envision rooms with piles of boxes containing removable media. What isn’t kept in boxes lives on servers and that can be even more costly. Furthermore, the process of retrieving evidence in long-term storage is impractical, time-consuming and pricey as well. When a case comes up on appeal, no one wants high-priced attorneys or staffers digging through boxes or searching across servers for hours on end.

NICE Evidencentral for Prosecutors

The Evidencentral Digital Evidence Management System solves these problems for prosecutor’s offices. Watch the video to learn more.

Evidencentral for Prosecutors
Evidencentral for Prosecutors Play Video
NICE Evidencentral for Prosecutors

NICE Evidencentral digitally transforms how prosecutors, paralegals and office staff receive, interact with, manage and share digital evidence, from beginning to end, so they can deliver timely justice and get to the truth faster. It does this by:

  • Standardizing how evidence is received and shared.
    All police departments submit digital evidence the same way, by uploading it to the cloud via a secure online portal. Evidencentral also integrates with the case management system (CMS), resulting in a consolidated and streamlined process for case creation and evidence attribution. As soon as a case is initiated in CMS, a corresponding digital case folder is automatically created in Evidencentral. A correlation engine then ensures that all digital evidence is deposited into the correct digital case folder. In addition to automatically synchronizing with the case management system to pull in additional evidence and case details, Evidencentral also inserts a link within the CMS back to the Evidencentral digital electronic case folder. This means prosecutors always have access to complete information, no matter what system they are working in.

  • Eliminating CDs, DVDs and USB drives that can bog down the intake process.
    Digital evidence always stays digital! All evidence is received electronically and deposited in digital case folders in the cloud for immediate viewing by assigned investigators or attorneys. Assigned staff are also automatically alerted when new evidence is available. 

  • Digitally transforming time-consuming manual processes so prosecutors can spend more time building and prosecuting cases.
    Digital Evidence Management digitally transforms time-consuming manual processes so prosecutors can focus on high-value work. As noted earlier, people are the most valuable prosecutor’s office resource. With all the manual work they do managing digital evidence, time is not on their side. Digital Evidence Management gives them time back in their day by automating manual processes around evidence management and discovery, and by eliminating high-touch time-wasting activities associated with handling physical media. When they spend less time on manual tasks, staff and prosecutors can spend more time building and prosecuting successful cases.

  • Digital Evidence Management Systems speed up the flow of evidence.
    Therefore prosecutors have more timely information for informed charging decisions. It’s no longer necessary to manually upload evidence into your case management system or onto servers, to scan or copy documents, or to go pick up evidence. Additionally, case evidence from the case management system is automatically deposited into the Digital Evidence Management System’s digital case folder without any manual intervention.

  • Taking the worry out of missing evidence.
    Checking and rechecking to make sure you have complete evidence can be time consuming and frustrating. Prosecutors no longer need to check and recheck for evidence in different systems or on different servers because it’s all in one place. The Digital Evidence Management System’s case folders become a single point of truth for your prosecutors, where they can get a unified view of all evidence, including documents, photos, videos and other media files. Additionally, prosecutors are alerted automatically when their requests for evidence are filled. They are also automatically alerted when new evidence is added to cases, whether it’s an NIBN hit, a supplemental RMS report, a new lab report, a newly discovered body worn camera or CCTV video, or anything new associated with their cases. 

  • Empowering prosecutors with built-in tools to play, redact and transcribe video.
    Digital Evidence Management Systems automatically transcode video to a playable format, without impacting the video quality or affecting the original media file. There’s no longer a need to scour the Internet for codecs, sending video out, or waiting. The Digital Evidence Management System also empowers prosecutors with tools to play and redact video. 

  • Built-in state-of-the-art transcription and keyword search tools.
    With those, attorneys can also scan the content of videos in minutes, instead of watching them for hours. Furthermore, in cases where video or audio evidence presented in court needs to be transcribed for juries for admissibility. With NICE Evidencentral’s built-in transcription tools, attorneys can transcribe audio or video files in minutes.

  • Streamlining discovery with defense and reducing discovery backlogs.
    Digital Evidence Management also streamlines discovery with defense. Now, instead of copying case files and digital evidence onto more DVDs, CDs and thumb drives, prosecutor’s offices can fulfill their discovery obligations simply, securely and transparently, by using the Digital Evidence Management System’s sharing portal to email a secure link for discoverable materials. Upon receiving the link, defense counsel can download, view and play approved discoverable materials (e.g. videos, audio, photos, documents) directly through the sharing portal. Prosecutors can also get more control over the discovery process by always being able to see what evidence has and has not been disclosed.

  • All discovery workflows are managed electronically with full tracking.
    Therefore prosecutors always know when disclosed evidence has been opened. This eliminates back and forth communications associated with confirming that discoverable materials were received. Also, because discovery is now managed as part of an end-to-end process, and all evidence is stored in one place, prosecutors can always have complete confidence that all relevant discoverable evidence received by them has been shared with defense. With NICE Evidencentral prosecutor’s offices can achieve up to fifty percent productivity savings in the time it takes to perform discovery and evidence intake.

  • Overcoming file size limitations in sharing evidence with courts.
    Digital Evidence Management Systems overcomes file size limitations inherent in sharing evidence with courts. With Digital Evidence Management Systems there’s no built-in limit to the number and size of files you can share electronically, and everything is shared with complete chain of custody tracking to ensure admissibility.
  1. Digital Evidence Management Systems
NICE Evidencentral Digital Evidence Management System

Digital Evidence Management Systems can also help prosecutor’s offices overcome some of the inherent shortcomings of their case management systems. Case management systems may be adept at handling documents and smaller files, but most of them were never intended to manage the large video files and multimedia that are inundating prosecutor’s offices today. For this reason, digital evidence tends to get stored in various places (e.g. documents in case management, video files on shared network drives, and so on). As all the evidence is now consolidated in one place, this means that prosecutor’s offices can easily produce complete discovery from one place – the Digital Evidence Management System’s digital case folder.

The NICE Evidencentral Digital Evidence Management System also provides tools to jumpstart the trial preparation process, so attorneys can perform all of their trial preparation and case-building work in one system, including evidence sequencing and timeline creation, transcription, redacting audio or video, annotating evidence, creating video and audio clips, and more. 

Just like police investigators, for the first time, prosecutors are able to visualize evidence in meaningful ways, for example on maps or timelines, and view and replay multimedia evidence (e.g. audio, video, etc.) in chronological sequence. The replay also reflects any overlaps that may occur when the same event is documented by multiple video recordings captured on different cameras. By making disjointed evidence cohesive, the Digital Evidence Management System helps prosecutors uncover all the facts of a case, so they can build an effective narrative.

Instead of taking a one-off approach to problem-solving, the NICE Evidencentral Digital Evidence Management System also addresses many challenges that come along with managing digital evidence. For example, long-term retention of evidence can be complex, time-consuming, and costly. It is a constant game of catch-up having to buy more servers, and storing evidence in multiple places makes it harder to access and manage. Some respondents to NICE’s Prosecutor Digital Evidence Management survey suggested that their offices would be better served by a cloud-based retention approach, where digital evidence could be collected, uploaded, and stored in a central repository that offered not only ease of use and secure storage and access, but configurable retention too. Evidencentral does all of these things. 

To learn more about how a Digital Evidence Management System can help your agency achieve new levels of efficiency and effectiveness, click on the 'Contact Us' button below.