Thanks to a grant, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office will acquire new technology to enhance the timeliness and quality of the forensic science services provided to the residents and agencies of Johnson County. The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners authorized the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Criminalistics Laboratory to accept $200,000 in grant funding under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement grant program. This grant will allow the Criminalistics Laboratory to acquire a new, comprehensive, integrated Digital Evidence Management Systems (DEMS).
Preservation of digital evidence is of paramount importance to everything the Criminalistics Laboratory does. One of the basic tenets of this preservation process is ensuring security, maintenance and preservation of the 'original' version of the digital evidence. Beyond basic evidentiary preservation, these digital evidence management processes are important to maintain Crime Laboratory accreditation and fully comply with legal requests.
On average, the laboratory receives more than 3,000 new cases each year. Digital evidence, ranging from photographs to instrumental data, is a critical component of each of these cases. The Crime Laboratory currently lacks a fully integrated digital evidence management process and must use different manual procedures and three separate systems to manage the more than 150,000 different images and files created annually, creating risk, additional time and added costs. Disparate systems reduce the ability to easily, efficiently and fully respond to requests from agencies and courts. This new grant allows the Crime Laboratory to solve these problems and better serve law enforcement, public safety and the community.
With the grant funds awarded under the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement grant program, the Crime Laboratory will be able to enter into a contract with Mideo System, Inc., for a forensic Digital Evidence Management System, and have the full costs of the system and implementation covered. The selected system will provide many significant benefits to both the Criminalistics Laboratory, and to the external agencies and courts in Johnson County that need access to digital evidence.
“The DEMS bring with it many significant benefits including improved efficiency, security and accessibility,” said Johnson County Criminalistics Laboratory Assistant Lab Director David Wright. “Law enforcement agencies and courts in Johnson County will also benefit from soon being able to access our digital evidence through a secure web portal.”