tools

3 Ways to Make Evidence Warehouses More Efficient

Kasey Stonehill
Product Manager at Mark43

Evidence warehouses are filling beyond manageable capacity. They face massive overcrowding, few effective processes to track and purge evidence once it is no longer required, and duplication of effort as information often has to be entered repeatedly into different computerized and manual tracking systems.

At Mark43 we can help you increase the efficiency of evidence warehouse management and address issues of overcrowding, lack of processes, and duplication of effort using our cloud-native Mark43 Property and Evidence Management System (PEMS) to offer a seamlessly integrated hub for mission-critical data collection and management.

 

Overcrowding

The first problem with warehouse efficiency is sheer overcrowding. The reality is that budgets for new evidence facilities are either shrinking or non-existent, and the same is true of budget for new evidence employees.

Half of the evidence staff surveyed by IAPE in 2012 said that their warehouse was at or near capacity. Unless effective processes are put in place to ensure timely disposal of unneeded evidence, the amount of new inbound evidence will only compound the overcrowding problem.

When we drilled down into this problem, it became clear that legacy technology plays a large part in these challenges. That’s why Mark43 PEMS comes with a mobile application for barcode scanning, audits, and ID capture, bulk item filtering and actioning, and e-mail and in-app reminder notifications. This ensures that evidence which is no longer required can be immediately flagged for disposal.

 

Lack of Process

The second problem with warehouse inefficiency is the lack of effective processes to purge inventory that is no longer required.

Evidence management should be the administration of evidence so it can be used to prove the circumstances of an event. In reality, however, evidence management today means drowning in a sea of evidence crammed into overflowing warehouses while praying nothing goes missing.

An IAPE study in 2012 confirmed that 40 percent of evidence was beyond the statute of limitations, with no warrant or appeal in the case. Our own Mark43 research suggests more than 50 percent of current inventory in evidence warehouses is no longer needed and could be disposed of if only the warehouse had a more efficient process to identify those items available for disposition.

Mark43 RMS has been designed from the start to include effective property and evidence management. With a full dashboard for inventory management, and including seamless custodial property report generation, configurable barcodes and disposition notifications, and full evidence audit history, Mark43 PEMS provides the tools and configurability to allow your evidence warehouse to implement effective, efficient processes for inventory management.

 

Duplication of Work

The third challenge to warehouse efficiency we’ve identified is the lack of centralized information about the evidence collected.

Depending on the agency, evidence information can appear across multiple systems and paper forms. There isn’t a quick and easy way to see what you have and when it’s ready for movement or release.

In that same 2012 study from the IAPE, 78 percent of the respondents were unable to capture information from their computer that defined whether evidence was related to a felony or misdemeanor crime. Instead, they had to rely on their “best guess.” Only a third of respondents had a computer system that helped them identify items eligible for review and send notices to the investigating officer. And nearly 20 percent of departments were tracking evidence across multiple computer systems and manual systems, and so had no tool to assist them in purging.

There is so much duplicative work because most systems aren’t integrated with the department’s RMS, and in some cases the same data is being entered three different times in three different locations.

The Mark43 RMS is optimized to eliminate these data silos, putting everything necessary to track an incident and its evidence in one place. We’ve seen this app tested in everything from an officer quickly gathering evidence and returning to the street, to an officer-involved shooting with hundreds of pieces of evidence involved. Mark43 RMS is hardware-agnostic software usable on any web-enabled device in the department, its single-application workflow and active error detection eliminates time-consuming revisions and duplicate records, and its configurable fields, barcodes, and location aliases maintain uniform records even as policies change.

 

At Mark43, our commitment as a SaaS solutions provider is to continuously improve our RMS by listening to and incorporating your feedback and to regularly and seamlessly push updates to our platform to serve you better.

 

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