Last year, we chronicled the many reasons IT decision-makers in police departments should lean into Digital Evidence Management (DEM) solutions. We looked at how DEM tools can help departments tame rising storage costs, minimize security threats, make data more organized and accessible, help with compliance issues and boost productivity. In this article we’ll discuss the ways DEM solutions can improve the lives of command staff and officers.
When we look at the big picture of running an agency, we know that success begins with intelligent, hard-working people working together towards a common purpose. But we also know that technology has an increasingly outsized role to play on a daily basis. Here are five compelling reasons why we see more and more departments implementing cloud-based DEM tools.
5 Reasons Police Departments Implement Digital Evidence Management Tools
1. Modernize Crime Scene Investigation
Investigations are logistically complex and can become quite sprawling. Cloud-based DEM tools can provide a seamless transfer of information between all devices within an evidence ecosystem. These systems can be highly configurable and policy-driven, allowing agencies to manage, administrate and customize settings centrally. DEM tools can also be used to create 3D models of crime scenes. By digitally reconstructing events, officers can sometimes identify evidence that might otherwise be missed by the naked eye.
2. Assist Real-Time Situational Awareness
It’s good for a department to have tools that help pull together case information. It’s downright transformative to have tools that gather that information in real-time. With the help of cloud-based DEM technology, officers on the scene can get a live view of their surroundings (e.g., terrain, buildings, possible escape routes), giving them an immeasurable advantage in keeping themselves–and the public–as safe as possible.
Meanwhile, back at HQ, command staff can view these same scenes simultaneously, start recording remotely or initiate live streams from an ongoing event. (Video can be automatically and instantaneously uploaded to a CJIS-compliant cloud.) Staff can leverage GPS data from the incident site to create a live map view for better real-time visualization and use tactical whiteboards to create action zones. Staff can leverage GPS data from the incident site to create a live map view for better real-time visualization and use tactical whiteboards to create action zones.
All of this means department leaders can assess each high-priority situation as intelligently as possible before advising on-scene officers on the next moves. Furthermore, information can be analyzed and used to make better decisions in the future while planning more effectively for upcoming operations.
3. Build Automation Appreciation
There are a number of reasons to say yes to technology that can spare an officer from repetitive administrative tasks and enable them instead to focus on the heart of their job, responding to calls and serving the community. Speed, accuracy and value are the outcome.
Think of the power, for instance, of having a system that automatically produces reports on crime trends and patterns. Information from reports can then be used to identify areas of concentrated crime and help develop strategies to reduce it. How about for officers in a high-stress environment? With automation, they no longer need to remember to hit the start or stop button on a body-worn camera while in pursuit. Automation tells us when–or whether–an officer switched on their light bars, opened their door or even un-holstered their gun. This is an important point when it comes to departmental truth and transparency.
Automation can help everyone in the department focus on doing their core job better. It can make life easier for all department members, regardless of their level of technological know-how. Tech-savvy department members can choose which tasks to automate, IT staff can assist in implementing them and then the whole department can benefit.
4. Foster Better Collaboration Inside and Outside Your Department
Police departments can leverage a cloud-based DEM system to share key details with other law enforcement agencies, helping all parties better coordinate their response to ongoing situations. They can carefully set permission rules for data access, driving smoother intra departmental collaboration. They can get a holistic view of all their video data, whether it originated on an officer-worn camera or was uploaded by a citizen thanks to collaborative efforts with the community. And they can call on features like geo-fencing that collect and present statistical data on policing patterns in specific areas, putting the department in a better position to respond to city and community leaders.
5. Cut Costs
On top of the day-to-day work benefits, cloud-based DEM systems can flat-out save police departments money. One obvious reason is that cloud-based technology allows for easier, more efficient scaling. Another is that, through the careful development of automation processes around things like Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems, departments can save their officers countless hours of time.
Let’s look at a specific example. By using DEM tools to automate the video classification process, a police department can help save an officer 10 minutes a shift.* That translates to about 2.4 person-years for a 100 officer police force. That’s already no small number–now scale it out to a city the size of Chicago (with roughly 14,000 officers) and you really start to see the financial and productivity difference DEM can make.
At the end of the day, cloud-based DEM tools can help police departments operate more efficiently, collaborate more effectively, comply with regulations and improve public safety. What’s not to like, right?
Digital Evidence Management System by Utility
POLARIS by Utility™ is a powerful, all-in-one evidence management system that sets a new standard for tracking and backing up the truth in an increasingly complex world. This powerful cloud-based virtual command center offers your department:
- Secure chain of custody
- Multiple perspectives in real-time
- Immediate video playback
- Smart redaction
- CAD activation
- Fleet management
- GIS data overlay
- Live video streaming
Contact us to learn more about how Digital Evidence Management tools can help your department bring new levels of truth and transparency to your work.
*Based on internal data
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