By Rod Guy, VP of Strategy, NICE Public Safety
Today, crime solving hinges on digital evidence and the volume, velocity and variety of digital evidence is growing exponentially.
From body-worn cameras and CCTV, to ALPR, CAD, RMS, interview room and 911 recordings, social media, smart devices and in-car video, policing has become entangled in a quagmire of technologies.
These very same technologies are creating a tsunami of digital evidence that’s becoming increasingly difficult to manage.
Detectives are drowning in digital evidence, often having to log in to a dozen systems to collect evidence and manually search for connections in cases.
They waste time emailing, phoning, filling out paperwork, waiting for analysis results, manually sifting through information to connect the dots, driving from place to place, copying evidence onto media to hand deliver to prosecutors.
(Crime solving in the 21st century hinges on digital evidence. Hear from former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, a nationally recognized leader in law enforcement with five decades of law enforcement service, as he discusses these challenges and shares his insights on how a new digital investigation and evidence management solution, NICE Investigate, can help. Courtesy of NICE and YouTube.)
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,) it 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.
In addition to the obvious inefficiencies, this swivel chair approach also increases the likelihood that crucial evidence will be overlooked – because while investigators can extract and analyze data from individual systems, they don’t have analytical solutions that work across them.
Successful investigations also require information sharing on numerous levels.
The public needs to share information with the police, detectives need to share information with each other, and investigators need to share case evidence with prosecutors.
Today, these processes are highly inefficient and manual.
And it’s not just police departments – the entire justice system is reaching a breaking point. As case files keep growing, evidence can easily go missing, and later re-surface at trial.
What’s more, while the rules for discovery haven’t changed, the volume of digital evidence subject to discovery rules continues to grow.
As departments try to keep up with the surge, entire cases are being derailed over questionable disclosure practices and eroding public faith in the justice system.
The increasing complexity of police investigations is also having an effect on the bottom line. Many departments are incurring huge overtime costs.
In fact, one large agency spent close to $9 million on overtime for investigations, just last year. It was the department’s costliest overtime expense.
Beyond the obvious inefficiencies and incremental costs, it’s clear that current methods for managing digital evidence defy logic.
Consider for a moment the journey of digital evidence from its collection to eventual sharing. It’s collected in its native digital form.
When the time comes to share it (with a prosecutor, for example), the investigator spends hours printing or copying that same digital evidence onto physical CDs or DVDs.
The DA then copies the files back into a separate digital system (court management) by scanning and/or uploaded them. The unnecessary expense and time consumed in this process is, in a word, astounding.
If these challenges sound familiar to you, new digital investigation and evidence management technology can provide a lifeline.
Why NICE Investigate is a Lifeline for Investigators Drowning in Digital Evidence
Is your department spending an excessive amount on overtime for investigations?
Are your investigators burdened by the tsunami of digital evidence, wasting time accessing lots of systems, and completing repetitive, manual tasks to build their cases?
These are symptoms of a much larger problem.
NICE Investigate is a lifeline for investigators who are drowning in digital evidence.
Running on the Microsoft Azure cloud, NICE Investigate is the first end-to-end digital investigation and evidence management solution created to help your department manage digital evidence across many touchpoints – from your citizens/community to investigators to prosecutors.
NICE Investigate automates the collection, analysis, management and sharing of all digital evidence to make your investigators more efficient and effective crime-solvers.
NICE Investigate provides:
- A one-stop shop for gathering evidence.
- Investigators no longer have to waste time logging on to many individual systems to manually collect evidence.
- The ability to perform a single, universal ‘Google-type’ search for evidence across all connected data sources.
- Built-in workflows that enable investigators to initiate and track evidence requests and receive automatic notifications when those requests are fulfilled.
- A secure portal for crowdsourcing video, photos and tips from businesses and private citizens.
- The ability to reach across all structured and unstructured data sources and apply analytics to make connections investigators can act on.
- Advanced content analytics to make information within audio and video files, documents, incident narratives and case reports from CAD and RMS systems all searchable.
- A solution that recommends relevant evidence so investigators can uncover new leads, and find hidden connections to other cases.
- The ability for investigators to connect the dots and see what’s missing by visualizing evidence in context, on timelines and maps.
- Automatic transcoding of video to a universal format that’s playable on any laptop, tablet or smartphone.
- No more costs and delays from hiring outside video specialists.
- A secure, auditable electronic method for sharing digital evidence and case files.
- Your investigators no longer have to copy and hand deliver media files to DAs.
- Instead they can digital evidence simply by providing permissions-based access to a virtual folder and its contents.
- A built in audit trail and chain of custody tracking to ensure evidence integrity and admissibility.
- A scalable solution that can easily adapt to your department’s changing investigative workloads and evidence storage requirements.
- As a SaaS (Software as a Service) solution NICE Investigate also eliminates the up-front hardware and resource costs associated with premise-based storage alternatives.
(See how NICE Investigate, the first digital policing solution that automates and expedites the entire digital investigation process, helps investigators close more cases faster, leading to more successful prosecutions. Courtesy of NICE and YouTube.)
Experience the Results
NICE Investigate will totally transform how your department manages investigations and digital evidence, saving you time and money, improving case solvability, and much more.
- NICE has found that departments can increase their investigative productivity 1000% and generate $10 in productivity savings for every $1 they spend on NICE Investigate.
- A ten-fold ROI.
- Experience has also shown that with NICE Investigate, 90% of commonly requested evidence can be collected/retrieved through a single log-on.
- You’ll also improve citizen and community engagement with tools that make it easier to crowdsource evidence.
- NICE Investigate can also potentially save weeks of waiting for crucial evidence.
- For example, it can automatically correlate relevant emergency (911/999) calls and body worn video to cases.
- Investigators no longer need to physically request recordings from an audio records custodian or other source.
- Recordings can now be automatically pulled into the investigation.
- NICE Investigate finds evidence that could otherwise be overlooked.
- One customer had this to say:
- “You found evidence that I hadn’t found – right there is the power of the system. The evidence you found, I would’ve ‘pooh-pooh’d, but it was correct, really impressive!”
- Because evidence can be obtained and assembled much faster (in minutes or hours instead of days or weeks), it increases the likelihood of obtaining guilty pleas.
- This means more cases can be resolved successfully, and sooner – and this translates into significant time and cost savings – for police departments, prosecutors and court systems.
- The longer it takes to develop a lead, identify a suspect or make an arrest, the lesser the chances of solving a case.
- NICE Investigate improves case solvability.
- Faster apprehensions also mean less crime and safer communities.
- NICE Investigate will reduce your overtime costs by relieving your investigators of manual tasks, enabling them to focus on investigations, and making them much more efficient and effective at what they do.
- NICE Investigate makes it easier to share growing volumes of digital evidence and adhere to disclosure requirements so cases don’t get derailed.
- Finally, NICE Investigate improves your operational agility.
- If caseloads or storage requirements unexpectedly increase, NICE Investigate can instantly scale to support your department’s needs.
If your investigators are drowning in digital evidence, don’t wait to give them the lifeline they need.
Contact NICE today at PSInfo@nice.com or 866-999-NICE, to start your transformation.
To Learn More, please visit www.nice.com/protecting/public-safety/nice-investigate.
About the author:
Rod Guy has over 25 years of experience developing products and application solutions to help Public Safety agencies better protect and serve citizens and communities.
For the past 10 years, Rod has been working with Public Safety agencies to understand the challenges of managing digital evidence and to develop innovative solutions which improve the usability of digital data, while addressing the need for security, data integrity and cost effectiveness.
NICE Takes Platinum & Gold in the 2018 ‘ASTORS’ Homeland Security Awards Program
Best 911 Recording & Analytics
Best Investigation/ Surveil/Detection Software
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