This report presents a “landscape” of currently available and emerging software products that may increase the efficiency of law enforcement agencies’ location, management, and disposition of physical evidence.
The report reviews the key benefits, limitations, and adoption issues associated with the use of these products by law enforcement agencies. The software products reviewed in this report have a barcode-based tracking mechanism with a searchable database that provides an accurate description of the evidence items entering and taken from an agency’s property and evidence (P&E) storage facility. The systems 1) secure and maintain evidence integrity and prevent theft; 2) locate relevant information efficiently and manage disposal of items in managing the use of space; and 3) provide access to information for software users, agency leaders, and external stakeholders who request information from managers of the P&E facility. The report cautions that although the profiled software-based systems can improve evidence management and integrity, agencies considering a purchase must consider the amount of time and resources needed to implement and maintain the system. This report identifies and discusses the factors agencies should consider when implementing these systems. Case studies are provided of a law enforcement agency’s use of each of the software products. 7 figures