As laws enforce tighter deadlines for reproducing and sharing 999 audio recordings and other evidence, public safety and criminal justice agencies are struggling to keep up.
To address this challenge and speed processes, NICE has announced the introduction of E-Request, a new cloud-based solution in the Evidencentral platform that supports timely disclosure of 999 audio evidence.
E-Request digitally transforms how emergency communications centres (ECCs) receive and process 999 audio evidence requests and share incident information with district attorneys, police investigators and other key stakeholders.
Certain evidence disclosure laws require prosecutor’s offices to produce and share discoverable evidence with defence attorneys within mandated timeframes. Many states have, or are pursuing, similar requirements for faster disclosure of evidentiary materials.
These consolidated turnaround times are also exerting pressure on upstream 999 centres to respond to evidence requests faster. Today’s manual evidence management processes make it difficult to manage these stricter disclosure requirements.
Fulfilling 999 audio requests consumes critical 999 staff resources and involves many time-wasting manual processes – such as emailing, filling out forms, piecing together data from different systems, sending audio out to be redacted or transcribed, copying evidence onto DVDs or USB drives, along with physical tracking and delivery.
These processes contribute to long turnaround times for 999 centres, cost over-runs, and duplicate work. Prosecutors struggle with many of these same problems, as well as the added consequence of potential case dismissals.
Chris Wooten, Executive Vice President, NICE, stated, “Handling 999 evidence requests is a time-consuming, but essential, function of every 999 centre. E-Request automates the end-to-end request and delivery workflow between 999 centres and key stakeholders to accelerate request fulfilment, improve transparency, ensure timely disclosure, and streamline case preparation and discovery.
“Currently, one of the world’s pre-eminent 999 centres, which handles tens of thousands of requests annually, is successfully leveraging E-Request’s automation and workflow engine to fulfill 999 evidence requests faster, more uniformly and efficiently, via an auditable, secure, end-to-end digital process.”
How E-Request Works
Prosecutors and other requestors submit their requests via E-Request. Upon receiving the request, ECC personnel simply enter a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) incident number, and all associated audio and CAD incident data are automatically correlated and assembled together, ready to share with the requestor.
Prosecutors are automatically notified when evidence is ready for downloading via E-Request’s secure browser-based portal. E-Request also delivers new-found efficiencies to police detectives by enabling trusted users to directly access 999 audio as they work on investigations.
Additionally, with the E-Request mobile app, officers are able to access and listen to 999 calls when they are dispatched to an incident.
NICE E-Request, the latest addition to NICE’s cloud-based Evidencentral platform which digitally transforms the end-to-end criminal justice process, includes the following benefits:
- 999 Emergency Communication Centres: E-Request eliminates backlogs, improves productivity and service levels, and frees up ECC time and resources. All work, including redaction and audio transcription, can be done in one system.
E-Request also eliminates duplicate work requests, downloading and copying to discs, handling of physical media, and the need to attach and send files via email.
Additionally, it ensures transparency and accountability, with complete chain of custody tracking, and audit trails that show when evidence requests were received, completed, sent, received and opened. Dashboards provide insights into request volumes, backlogs and bottlenecks.
- Prosecutors and Other Stakeholders: E-Request helps prosecutors comply with more stringent discovery timelines by standardizing and streamlining the process by which audio reproductions are requested, received and shared.
It also eliminates physical media which can bog down the evidence intake process. Additionally, prosecutors are always updated on request status. Defence attorneys, media and citizens can request and receive audio reproductions through a similar streamlined, digital process.
- Law Enforcement: E-Request delivers efficiencies by enabling trusted users, such as police detectives, to directly access 999 audio as they work on investigations. Additionally, officers can use the E-Request mobile app to access and listen to 999 calls to support incident response.
To find out more about NICE, visit their website.