Video footage, phone texts, images… all are becoming common forms of evidence in today’s digital world, presenting law enforcement with benefits and challenges. At Motorola Solutions, we are committed to providing solutions that ensure digital evidence management is safe, efficient and easy, whether it begins with your agency or the public.
How to Effectively Manage Digital Evidence from Your Agency
Lyon County, Nevada, located 90 miles southeast of Reno, is home to approximately 58,000 people in several communities. These include the cities of Dayton, Fernley, Silver Springs, Smith Valley and Yerington and many unincorporated areas — spread out over 2,000 square miles of mountainous terrain. Community safety is maintained by Lyon County Sheriff’s Office, the cities’ police departments and four different fire and EMS districts — with 9-1-1 calls for all served by one Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP).
To foster agency transparency with the communities, in 2018, the state of Nevada mandated that law enforcement wear body cameras. With the Sheriff’s Office in Yerington serving as the hub for these cameras and their evidence, the distinct communities faced challenges in being able to access the recordings. Agencies everywhere are often left to manually transport this evidence using USBs, CDs and DVDs.
Donna described the issue for Lyon County, its cities and officials. “The lieutenant assigned to do internal affairs investigations is 60 miles away from the Sheriff’s Office. Officials in other communities are 45 minutes away from the Sheriff’s Office, so we had to find a solution that made information digitally available without having to worry about transferring it from one place to another.” For Lyon County, that solution is Motorola Solutions’ body-worn cameras and CommandCentral Vault.
Through their implementation, Donna reports benefits for many agencies and departments, including the district attorney for whom they’re able to provide information to “in a timely manner.” She also describes the benefits for investigative teams. “Detectives can access the recordings wherever they are, giving them access to information so that they can be better prepared for what they are walking into before arriving on scene.”
How to Effectively Manage Digital Evidence from the Public
The same principle applies when collecting digital evidence from the public–use a method that saves time, simplifies the handoff and reduces risk. Motorola Solutions offers Digital Evidence Collection, one of several CommandCentral Community tools designed to increase agency transparency and foster community relationships.
Digital Evidence Collection provides a secure method of transferring digital media from public sources to the agency, eliminating the need for dependence on older storage technology. Once collected, the evidence is automatically stored in CommandCentral Vault, which aggregates and organizes it for secure management and sharing. Dave DeBaufer, Industry Expert for Digital Evidence at Motorola Solutions, supports agencies of all sizes implementing CommandCentral Community and CommandCentral Vault services. He said, “The ability for an agency to remotely acquire digital evidence from the public and automatically store it is a force multiplier as well as a much more efficient approach to this common task.” According to Dave, many agencies are moving to cloud to address one of their biggest complaints–the capital costs of on-premises storage, though cloud offers many other benefits as well. “When agencies can have everything related to a case stored in one place and it can be easily shared with a prosecutor’s office, for example, with a simple email link,” said Dave, “that is a game changer.”
Another important factor to consider in managing digital evidence is integration with your existing products. Donna says, “Look at technology that will integrate with the systems you have so you don’t have to go to multiple places to get the info. It’s so important to save time and energy and be able to log into one place and get everything you need–a ‘one-stop shop’ versus multiple systems. Integration makes us so much more efficient and allows us to build for the future.” As an example, Digital Evidence Collection integrates with Motorola Solutions’ CAD and Records systems and the CommandCentral Software Suite, offering agencies greater efficiencies across the board, while giving the public a greater role in community policing.