Editorial

Multitasking with technology.

HAVE YOU EVER WISHED you could be in more than one place at once? That may seem like just about anyone’s wildest dream—but, as it turns out, the latest technology may make that possible. And this issue of Evidence Technology Magazine tells you how:

First, read the article about teleforensics (Page 14). By definition, teleforensics is the use of technology to transmit crime-scene images and data in real time to personnel at a remote location. This concept got a lot of attention during the first half of this decade, but apparently it lost steam (or—more accurately—funding) and failed to move forward.

Teleforensics still seems like a great idea, though, and for a lot of valid reasons. First, it allows crime-scene units to limit the number of personnel who must be physically present at a crime scene. This helps maintain the integrity of a scene and reduces the risk of cross-contamination. Second—and more relevant to my original point—it allows forensic experts to literally be in more than one place at once. Here’s how:

An expert in trace evidence, for example, could be sitting in an office looking at a monitor displaying an encrypted signal transmitted from a crime scene that is five, one hundred, or even a thousand miles away. The trace-evidence expert could be on the phone with the technician running the camera at that crime scene, using an experienced eye to talk the technician through the scene and to suggest areas that need more attention or items of evidence that need to be documented and collected.

That kind of use of teleforensics could have a profound impact on the way small agencies with limited resources approach a crime scene.

Next in your efforts to find methods of being in more than one place at once, you will want to read about the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, or N-DEx (Page 10). This program, launched by the FBI’s CJIS Division in March 2008, takes incident data already tracked by individual agencies’ record-management systems and ties them together into one national system.

One of the cool things about this system—and the benefit that will allow you to be in more than one place at once, so to speak—is its subscription-and-notification feature (which will become operational this summer). With this new feature, an investigator can “subscribe” by entering search criteria—something as specific as a name and Social Security Number, or something as general as a physical description and modus operandi—and then simply sit back and wait. Instead of calling around to other police departments and doing the difficult networking footwork yourself, the N-DEx system “looks” for any data that matches your search criteria from all of the participating agencies. When another agency enters data that matches your search criteria, you will receive notification that there has been a “hit”.

N-DEx is just another example of technology working to make your job easier and more effective. And it helps you and your agency direct its time and resources at the most important thing of all: Catching the bad guys.

Kristi Mayo, editor
Evidence Technology Magazine


ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED:
"Multitasking with Technology", written by Kristi Mayo
January-February 2009 (Volume 7, Number 1)
Evidence Technology Magazine
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