The amount of evidence agencies are tasked with managing is growing at an exponential rate. Here’s how technology is paving the way for adaptable, efficient evidence management.
Body-worn camera footage, citizen videos, text messages, voicemail, photos, email, smart home technology, CCTV — the list goes on. The amount of evidence agencies are tasked with managing is growing at an exponential rate. In 2016, Axon cameras and sensors generated 1.4 petabytes of evidence per month. In 2019, the average grew to 3.8 petabytes of new evidence each month. That’s a 171% increase in just three years. Current records management systems (RMS) simply weren’t built to handle this volume of digital evidence, if any.
“Many police records systems were created well before digital photos and videos became the norm,” says Bryan Wheeler, vice president, Axon Records. “As a result, the typical workflow between an RMS and DEMS [digital evidence management system] is tedious and error-prone.”
Not to mention costly. Retrofitting a legacy RMS to integrate with a DEMS often requires custom programming, which falls outside many police agency budgets. And out-of-the-box solutions are simply ineffective without some level of customization.
The stark case for convergence
Today, digital evidence is collected in nearly all criminal cases. And with U.S. law enforcement making 10.3 million arrests in 2018, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, that’s a lot of evidence to manage.
Take, for instance, a carjacking that leads to a vehicle pursuit, foot pursuit and ultimately an arrest. In the end, investigators have footage from five police cars, seven body-worn cameras and multiple citizens’ smartphones to sift through. That all needs to be aggregated, tagged, and linked to the incident report. That could take hours of valuable staff time. Plus, there is potential for human and technical error that could lead to an investigator or prosecutor missing a critical piece of evidence.
Finding solutions that stand the test of time
As police departments put systems in place to handle this growing amount of digital evidence, it’s imperative to look 10, 20, 30 years down the road. Even if an add-on solution can integrate an agency’s RMS and DEMS today, it may not be sufficient three or five years from now as digital evidence continues to proliferate. If a solution can’t scale long-term, there will be further costs to replace it or, once again, upgrade.
Axon’s RMS and DEMS solutions are cloud-based and updated every month as part of a subscription. That means they continue to evolve as needs change, which isn’t the case for traditional systems that remain very much the same for years.
Deploying a third-party integration also means another system to learn, maintain and troubleshoot. And, of course, all of that requires precious staff time.
Instead, agencies can maximize efficiency by opting for a solution that combines RMS and DEMS. Together, Axon Records and Axon Evidence simplify workflows and provide officers direct access to all available digital evidence within an incident report.
“Axon Records was built from the ground up with this convergence in mind,” Wheeler says. “From initial incident response all the way through final disposition and prosecution, the Axon platform ensures that workflows are fast, easy and simple.”
Get a live demo