The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle: From Intake to Expungement

The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle: From Intake to Expungement
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-09-28
Unit 1 Slide Deck: The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle
Unit 2 Transcript: The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle
Unit 3 Workbook: The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle
Unit 4 Recording: The Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Lifecycle

Our every move now has some form of digital footprint – be it an image, video, or geolocation. The existence of digital evidence can make law enforcement work easier. It’s a great help to have eyes through images, videos, and other digital files captured in citizen’s phones, security cameras, and wearable devices and provides an insider look into a subject’s life based on data stored into their personal devices. But at the same time these present challenges in terms of digital evidence collection and management. This webinar will talk about these challenges created by digital evidence and how to overcome them

This session’s speakers are Robert Turner and Patrick Doyle. Robert has an extensive background in law enforcement information technology. He is on the Board of Directors for the Integrated Justice Information Systems (IJIS) Institute, the chairman of the IJIS Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, and a member of the IACP CJIS Committee. Meanwhile, Patrick retired from law enforcement after serving in several command roles. He is the Vice President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Criminal Justice Information Systems Committee and leads the IJIS Institute Law Enforcement Imaging Technology Task Force.

Specifics of their discussion are on:

  • The Law Enforcement Image Technology Task Force (LEITTF) and the task force’s initiatives relating to various forms of digital evidence.
  • The problem that comes with digital evidence concerning its mutability and integrity.
  • Handling digital evidence by first identifying weak links and gaps, determining ownership of the evidence, and ultimately letting the investigative goal dictate which evidence must be collected.
  • Understanding the Law Enforcement Digital Evidence Life Cycle.
    • How collection is done – which considers the ‘end’ in mind, the evidentiary chain of custody, and who does the collecting.
    • The process of vetting for authenticity, usefulness, and security of the digital evidence and determining who ‘owns’ the evidence.
    • The critical management step that occurs throughout the process to ensure that the evidence is searchable, retrievable, or may be expunged if needed.
    • The dissemination process that takes into account accessing the digital evidence based on the purpose and rules of evidence.
  • Considerations on digital evidence management that looks into properly cataloging pieces of evidence, degradation when making copies, and protocols surrounding expungement.
  • Tech concerns during dissemination to ensure that the digital evidence’s format is accessible to all parties that need to access it.
  • Issues related to expungement due to the digital nature of the evidence and the IT infrastructure.
  • Upholding security throughout the Digital Evidence Life Cycle, in the chain of custody, and while in long-term storage to prevent evidence tampering.
  • The promising solution that Blockchain offers to ensure that digital evidence remains secured from unauthorized access and more importantly against tampering or manipulation.
  • The consequences of not laying the foundations for digital evidence management for the agencies, the profession, and the justice system.
  • Future considerations in terms of:
    • Ownership of evidence management and the costs this entails.
    • How to best handle digital evidence management by identifying weak links, developing best practices, and engaging everyone involved.
    • The organizations at the forefront of this movement to standardize digital evidence management practices and policies.

Points raised during the Q&A are on:

  • Isolating cyber threats from a piece of digital evidence.
  • Fostering secure information sharing between stakeholders.
  • Ethical and privacy concerns when collecting digital evidence from personal devices.
  • Vetting bodycam footages to be stored as digital evidence and establishing standards when keeping data.
  • Cataloging digital evidence by keywords or images.


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Audience Comments

  • “Excellent and thorough.” — Jo
  • “I thought the whole webinar was great.” — Joan
  • “A very methodical presentation.” — Lauchlin
  • “Fab Webinar and so informative!! AWESOME Presenters..hope they come back again and give us more to learn with!!” — Christine
  • “[The webinar] got me thinking about our local storage issues.” — Julie
  • “Glad this stuff is being discussed. It gave me good things to ponder and clarify in regards to digital evidence collection. The whole cycle was valuable and I need to walk through the steps of the process in my organization.” — Jasmin
  • “All the topics were a great resource and tools to my agency, great webinar.” — TALBERT


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