The Courthouse’s IT Manager led our team down a hallway, stopping in front of what appeared to be a door to a small storage closet – when he opened it, we expected to maybe see some mops and buckets, cleaners and other housekeeping items.
To our surprise, with one hand on the doorknob, the IT Manager looked at us and said, “this used to be my office.” As the door opened, it was difficult to see how big the room actually was because, from wall to wall, there were videos, CDs, hard drives, photocopies and numerous playback devices stacked ceiling high.
Incident videos, 9-1-1 recordings and other video and audio evidence were collecting dust among proprietary players that, ironically, did not do them justice. Crime scene photos were tucked away in Manilla envelopes and banker boxes with chicken-scratched labels, some fading and even illegible.
We didn’t know who was responsible for locating and pulling their evidence when needed, but our hearts went out to that poor soul.
Delayed Justice is Justice Denied – Especially When It’s Preventable
As terrible as we felt for the courthouse team who had to work in the depths of this never-ending room, we felt worse for the citizens whose stories and justices were buried in banker boxes and dormant video types that couldn’t be played back during trials – for the relied-upon surveillance footage that never had its day in court. And despite all the digital evidence that was here, these stories were still incomplete. Sure, there were crime scene photos, but where was the Medical Examiner’s follow-up report? The testimonies? What was the verdict?
The communications were somewhere – maybe filed away in a prosecutor’s email – but they certainly were not attached to the evidence in this room.
At the end of the day, we can invest in all the best-in-class body cameras, home surveillance systems and law enforcement recording software available to us – but if it’s not able to be replayed in court and, ultimately, will sit, untold, in an evidence graveyard, what good are we doing anyone?
Even if the courts and prosecutors eventually do hunt down a legacy player to playback the tapes in court, the time spent finding the player and, in the meantime, figuring out how to share the evidence with defense counsel, public defenders, coroners, law enforcement and all the associated parties is an expensive cost to the victims. While the justice system tries to figure out its processes, numerous people sit on their hands, anxiously waiting for their justice and the case just to finally close.
The Evidence is Clear: Courts Need Evidence Management Prior to, During and After Hearings
And in today’s mobile world, where smartphones, tablets and laptops empower us to receive, review and respond to urgent case matters from anywhere, that evidence needs to be held to an equally accessible, secure and robust standard.
Digital evidence management (also known as DEM) solves for the challenge above, which is coupled with the Courts growing volume of digital content and many of their pandemic-induced backlog of cases. And in breaking down the barriers to storing, securing, managing and exchanging digital assets, courts simultaneously optimize case turnaround to achieve record timing.
Upon visiting our DEM webpage, you’ll open a toolbox of capabilities and opportunities wrapped up into one, easily stood-up solution. Able to stand alone in an entirely Cloud-hosted environment, or serve as a hybrid model that leverages the Cloud and your on-premise system, our solution for digital evidence management equips your court with:
- A centralized data repository from which authorized users and staff can receive and classify video, audio and digital images
- Traceable workflow operations that manage evidence authenticity and track chain of custody
- A simplified sharing portal that allows system admins to securely share requested access to evidence case files with prosecutors, medical examiners, law enforcements, court personnel and others
- File normalization, which supports instant, no-hassle playback of all video and audio file types, directly from the user’s dashboard
- Ability to manage extensively large multimedia and file storage, such as cell phone dumps, Zip files, and other nontraditional file types, thanks to added-on Cloud hosting from the highly secure Microsoft Azure Government Cloud.
- Seamless, direct integrations with your court’s case management system and other existing business applications, such as Microsoft Office. These easy integrations also lend themselves to any evolving processes your court may adopt over time, such as electronic filing or electronic certifications.
See What We’re Talking About
We know it’s difficult to visualize what we mean by a “centralized data repository” or a “simplified sharing portal,” which is why we have walk-throughs ready and available. Request your walk-through with us today here.