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lice, investigators need to share information with each other, and in the final analysis, case evidence needs to be shared with the DA. For most police departments though, all these processes are highly ineffective and manual. Take crowdsourced evidence for example. Crowdsourced evidence in the form of videos, photos and tips often provide some of the best leads in cases. And the potential for such evidence is everywhere! Cameras are mounted on businesses, homes, integrated into doorbells, and in the hands of virtually every citizen. If a crime is committed in public, there's a good chance that it has been captured on a smartphone camera. But many law enforcement agencies still lack the necessary tools to efficiently collect, analyze and share this digital evidence. For example, collecting CCTV footage requires officers to drive to the crime scene, canvas for cameras, locate the business owner who knows how to operate the DVR, then download the video to removable media, only to return to the station to find it’s not even playable. The mechanics of collecting evidence from citizens leaves little to be desired too. Some crowdsourcing apps require law enforcement to set up a new link and web page for each case, and work with an outside party to do so, slowing down the process of collecting evidence and getting it into the hands of detectives. The process of uploading large files can also strip metadata (time- stamps and GPS information) that’s critical for investigations. Using a next-generation DEM solution, investigators can create a public appeal 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 investiga- tors are alerted when new case evidence is uploaded so they can immediately review and act on it. Private businesses and citizens can use the same public portal to register their cameras, and upload evidence when necessary. By geo-locating cameras on a map, a next-generation DEM also enables investigators to look at the area where a crime occurred and instantly know where cameras are located.
A next-generation DEM provides a one-stop shop for gather- ing evidence. Investigators can log in to the DEM solution and perform a universal search for evidence across all connected data sources. In fact, ninety percent of commonly requested evidence can be collected and retrieved through a single log-on. The system automatically finds related evidence and pulls it into a case folder. “Based on our experience, this can easily save 10 to 15 hours per detective per week,” added Guy. 2. ANALYTICS TO FIND HIDDEN CONNECTIONS AND LEADS Successful investigations rely on an investigator’s ability to connect the dots. The problem is – digital evidence is stored in silos. Investigators may have tools to extract and analyze data from individual systems, but they don’t have analytical tools that work across them. “Manually searching for data across systems, and then trying to draw connections is cumbersome, and it’s easy to miss things,” said Daniel Dvorak , a Law Enforcement & Public Safety Subject Matter Expert and retired Police Chief. “Investigators need to conduct multiple searches and then manually comb through infor- mation to look for connections.” “What investigators really need is a next-generation DEM solution that reaches across all structured and unstructured data sources and applies analytics to make connections they can act on,” added Dvorak. “The system uses a correlation engine to bring back every potentially relevant piece of evidence.” But it’s not enough to just search across databases. Make sure your chosen DEM solution can search within the content of records too. For example, your investigators should be able to search by key words or phrases and automatically find records (for example 911 audio recordings, narratives from CAD com- ments, incident reports, and FI cards) that contain those words or tags. Without it, an investigator would need to read or listen to each record or audio recording in entirety. Another benefit is that it enables investigators to correlate current and past cases. For example, if an individual was even mentioned in another case, the solution would automatically bring that information to the investigator’s attention. 3. IMPROVED INFORMATION SHARING ON EVERY LEVEL Successful investigations require information sharing on many levels. The public needs to share information with the po-
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