One of the toughest challenges in the law enforcement industry is the compilation, tracking, and disposition of evidence. Cases are won on solid evidence, but the finality of the decision depends on how well the evidence was maintained. Improper evidence care can lead to serious consequences—possibly causing the loss of the case.
Finding evidence is one thing, but keeping the evidence is another problem entirely. Not only does it have to be logged in complete detail, but it also has to be stocked somewhere secure. While the practice, in itself, seems straight forward, the trouble it gives to evidence managers would lie in space management.
Evidence Disposition: The Conundrum
Evidence takes up space, which is why the evidence disposition system is created to minimize storage costs. The goal for most effective disposition is to dispose of as much as the evidence you’re takin in annually—this way, there’s always enough space to accommodate all evidence.
It is, in concept, pretty straightforward, however, the execution proves to be difficult. With so much evidence to shift through, browsing the paperwork alone can already take away chunks of precious time. For this reason, the utilization of proper evidence tracking solutions is the best way to proceed.
Automated Evidence Disposition
Automated evidence disposition involves the use of highly sophisticated evidence management software to streamline the disposition process. Through software tracking and automated alerts, the screening of evidence is made much faster and easier for evidence managers, making dispositions a quicker process to go through.
To further its importance, here are three basic reasons to use evidence management software for evidence disposition.
1. Faster Documentation and Tracking
The biggest hindrances of hard copy files are the time-consuming writing and the increased difficulty of searching. Proper filing systems can make sifting through the information a little easier, but not having a consolidated database can still take up a long time in order to search for one folder of information. By using evidence trackers, the filing process is made much quicker and the search times are made incredibly easy. With a few clicks of a button, you’ll be able to find and track the specific evidence you’re looking for.
2. Simple Review Interface
Hard copies of information are bulky and messy—all the loose papers scattering about can be a headache to handle. With an evidence tracker, however, all the necessary information is readily available and scalable to one screen, making your evidence viewing and reviewing a smoother process. All the images and information can be displayed neatly on one screen and the files don’t risk flying off or accidentally getting shredded. By advancing with the times, your files are made even more secure—making evidence review a quick and easy task to fulfill.
3. Automated Alerts
The best thing about using evidence management software is that it can alert you when specific actions need to be done. By setting auto-prompts and merging it with action dates, the specific user that needs to be alerted for a particular action can be notified on time. What that means for evidence disposition is that there is a more streamlined process for screening what can be disposed of—making the entire process much quicker for the evidence manager. If the evidence is still needed for a future date, then the evidence manager won’t be notified—thus avoiding the mistakes in evidence disposal.
Proper evidence tracking and management are best accompanied by the advancements in technology. Not only can it streamline the process and promote efficiency, but it also reduces mistakes while always having a person accountable.
Looking for an evidence tracking solution for your law enforcement office? Get in touch with us today and find out more about the best evidence tracking software available for your precinct.