As the world of criminal justice has evolved considerably in the 21st century, advances in document management have sought to address this ever-changing landscape. With the volume of digital evidence having grown exponentially in that time, district attorneys and law enforcement entities have sought out solutions to better manage this deluge of key evidence in its many forms. An increasing number of law enforcement entities have turned to CJIS-compliant, cloud-based document management systems to maximize efficiency in their jurisdictions and facilitate seamless interdepartmental collaboration.
The Need for Comprehensive Digital Evidence Management Solutions
With the increasing complexity of digital evidence at the center of so many cases, police departments and district attorneys could no longer manage this evidence through the same channels as in years past. Additionally, some legal systems have faced multi-decade backlogs attributed to these antiquated systems, often bringing the justice process to a crawl. Prior to the rise of modern document management systems, it was exceedingly difficult to compile and consolidate all the digital evidence for any given case. Evidence sharing took place between departments via emails, thumb drives, DVDs, and these unreliable methods inherently posed security risks in the process. Sensitive information could end up in the wrong hands, just as data was easily corruptible. Interdepartmental sharing proved difficult with file types that were often incompatible from one device to another.
A New Way Forward
Any digital evidence, from bodycam or dashcam footage, to security camera footage, civilian phone footage, social media posts, and emails can now be consolidated via a single platform, allowing authorized personnel to store, retrieve, analyze, and share this evidence between departments during the case-building process and beyond. Once significant advantage to using a document management system for digital evidence is the creation of audit trails, essential for establishing a chain of custody. Crucial evidence that could exonerate the innocent in one case and prove guilt in another case, can become inadmissible if mishandled. Document management systems provide a safeguard against this, helping the wheels of justice turn more efficiently.
A Unified Approach That Helps District Attorneys & Police Departments Alike
By providing a unified approach to gathering evidence from a multitude of sources and law enforcement entities, these systems provide a simple infrastructure for anyone from district attorneys to police departments to utilize in effectively building stronger cases. Sharing evidence via physical media can be unreliable, thus highlighting the need for a streamlined approach to digital evidence management that eliminates these issues. A CJIS-compliant, cloud-based document management system with industry-leading encryption features can be an essential tool for district attorneys in revolutionizing criminal justice systems everywhere.