What Is an Evidence Management System?
This type of system allows your officers to document, record, identify, and track all the evidence from a scene while in the field. The recorded information includes the officer’s DSN, the case number, date and time, the evidence barcode ID, and a description. All of this data is uploaded to a database to protect evidence going through the chain of command all the way to the property room. This keeps information perfectly safe and easy to access.
An evidence management system starts with adding hardware and software to your police vehicles. A combination of mobile computers and software packages for evidence management has many benefits. It allows much quicker data collection, it’s accurate, and it minimizes the potential for human error. You can maintain your records accurately and have extensive reporting procedures to ensure records are intact and easily accessed. This type of system also enforces personal responsibility of your officers and accountability for the evidence.
Why Would I Need One?
If you, as a fleet manager of public safety vehicles, have an employee whose job is to enter all the information and evidence into a computer system, you definitely would benefit from this type of system. You could actually streamline and consolodate a few positions to significantly reduce your overhead and increase efficience. Alternatively, you could have this desk officer patrolling the streets instead to help out your task forces and daily patrols. It is estimated that it takes about 2 hours to log evidence in the computers at a desk for each case or write it out by hand for the descriptions. This system promotes a manner to enter, collect, and scan evidence while in the field to save valuable time for your officers.
The tracking system also helps to keep all information organized so that your evidence remains admissible in court. If items are misplaced or not recorded properly, it can mean the difference between a criminal going free or being prosecuted for a crime.
What Are My Options?
You have several options to choose from in an evidence management system. You will need three components for your system to get started. The evidence tracking software supports all of the features and options that you choose to employ in your vehicle upfitting. You can choose software that supports real-time updates for the fastest tracking method or that supports updates in batches. You will need to employ a fully rugged mobile computer that operates in any type of weather to input your information. You also will need to add a barcode/RFID printer into the system. Barcodes are easier and the most cost efficient manner to track evidence, while RFID tags have the added benefit of wireless reading.
Other questions to ask yourself to help you to decide what options you need most in your evidence management system include
- How many items do you need to track at once?
- What type of characteristics do you record and track on each piece of evidence?
- Do you need to capture photos of each item?
- What type of reports do you need from the system?
- How many users do you need on both desktop and mobile computers?
Answering all of these questions can help you to choose the best system for tracking your evidence. For more information, get in touch with Keltek and request a quote!