City police will soon have a new way to store and organize evidence.
At the request of the department’s evidence specialist Daniel Cline, city commissioners this week approved the $38,510 purchase of a digital-evidence management system called ADAMS from San Diego-based Foray Technologies.
The money to buy the system will come out of federal forfeiture funds, which currently has $236,842.
“What the program will allow you to do is archive digital evidence in such a way that it will not take up any space in our evidence unit,” said Chief Jeffrey Katz. “We’re shorthanded as far as square footage is concerned.”
Cline — in city documents — said out of two top programs, Foray’s is the “most comprehensive and easy-to-use software.” A second program Cline researched is used by Palm Beach Gardens police. Cline said he found the program to have certain limitations.
Other area agencies that use the Foray Technologies product include Boca Raton police, the sheriff’s offices in Palm Beach, Broward, Martin and St. Lucie counties, Fort Lauderdale police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, said Foray President and Owner Tom Hennings.
The system is a secured, web-based evidence management platform used for both physical and digital evidence. The program is used for collection, storage and management of the evidence.
Katz said it will save the department’s two full-time and one part-time evidence technicians about 20 percent of the time they spend either archiving, capturing or sending out digital media.
“If we go out on a crime scene and we take one photograph on a footprint, we’re going to have to take that back. We’re going to have to burn it to a compact disk and we’re going to have to store it, physically,” Katz said. “The digital system allows us to securely put this information into the system and not have physical stuff. We’ll be able to search and we’ll be able to guarantee the evidence is authentic and hasn’t been tampered with.”
For physical evidence that can’t be kept digitally, the program keeps track of where it is within the storage room.
“Everybody’s heading in this direction,” Katz said. “It’s certainly the way of the future.”
The program allows the department the ability to share information digitally with other agencies, like the State Attorney’s Office, in the future. The program also makes it easier for someone to access the evidence without having to depend on the evidence technician who might be out of the office or in court.
“Any digital evidence can be stored on the system without taking up physical space, which is huge,” Katz said.