Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2019, $200,000)
The Johnson County Sheriffs Office Criminalistics Laboratory (JCSOCL), located in the Kansas City metropolitan area, is a full-service ANAB accredited forensic science laboratory and serves all law enforcement and fire agencies within the county, as well as federal and other local law enforcement agencies within the metro area. Digital evidence, ranging from photographs to instrumental data, is a critical component of all cases. Successful management of this evidence requires methods for storage and preservation to maintain integrity, as well as efficient access and distribution capabilities. The laboratory currently lacks a singular solution to manage these digital records, resulting in inefficiencies in daily workflow, challenges to continue to meet accreditation requirements, and delays in the delivery of test results and fulfillment of records requests. To address this need, the JCSOCL proposes the use of Coverdell grant funds to procure a professional forensic Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS). A singular, dedicated DEMS would result in a significant improvement in the timeliness and quality of management of the many varieties of digital evidence submitted to and created by the laboratory. The anticipated project outcomes would result in unified management of all digital evidence, greater efficiency in laboratory evidence processing workflow, increased protection and audit tracking of image files, enhanced security and permission capabilities for managing digital evidence, increased collaboration through greater accessibility to digital evidence by stakeholders, and improvement in responding to informal and formal records requests.