Evidence Management Webinar Series Episode 8: Evidence Health Check – Part 1

Posted on: Nov 18, 2020

Categories: Uncategorized

The Evidence Management Institute’s E-Health Check is a questionnaire that diagnoses the health of your current evidence management practices. By answering basic questions about your agency’s evidence operations, you will get a detailed report that reveals your agency’s strengths and pain points; using key performance indicators. This information can help you to make positive changes – using EMI’s holistic approach – which will lead to healthy, sustainable evidence management practices. 

In this webinar, Shawn Henderson (who is at the bottom/left of the image below) reviewed the types of questions you will be asked, discussed the details of the report, and encouraged you to take advantage of the FREE offer. 

As they say, With great knowledge, comes great power. And, the E-Health report gives you the power to strengthen your evidence management practices… starting today. 

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Shawn began by expanding on the bullet points above. He said, “Today we’re going to talk about the importance of data driven decision making. If you’ve been on any of the calls or the webinars over the past couple of weeks, that’s a recurring topic. In the very first webinar, David Bragg was talking about leveraging data in order to help make decisions and get resources for his evidence room. 

That is unequivocally one of the most important things that you can do. But it’s also difficult to figure out where to start. How do I get there? How do I pull any of this together in a way that makes sense? So, we’ll talk about how to leverage data to solve specific problems at your agency. I’ll also introduce you to our E-Health check, go over a guide, and then we’ll do a live demonstration. 

So, when it comes to data-driven decision making… every law enforcement agency deals with the same constraints. As such, it’s really important that we learn to problem solve and to get resources efficiently and effectively from our agencies. And that’s a tough thing to do for most evidence managers to do. 

RELATED: USING YOUR EVIDENCE ROOM DATA AS AN ANALYTICAL TOOL

Patrol is an obvious component of law enforcement; as are investigations. Those departments are going to get resources, but evidence management can get overlooked. We know that police executives make resource distribution decisions based on need. But, those needs have to be concrete. They can’t just be abstract like… This part of our agency is broken. 

Broken doesn’t mean anything. Quality data does two things for you: it demonstrates and measures several different things to problem solve. You’ve got to be able to demonstrate your problems and the solutions to those problems mathematically. 

You can demonstrate the urgency of a particular issue by looking at the math. How are the well-run agencies operating, and how do we compare to them? Also, you want to be able to demonstrate what the potential gains will be by implementing whatever it is that you’re proposing.

Also, you want to be able to measure the scope of the issues that you’re dealing with. When you tell a police chief… We’ve got a ton of evidence that needs to be disposed of back there. ‘A ton of evidence’ really doesn’t mean anything. That could be the absolute truth, but measuring that ‘ton’ quantitatively is going to speak to them. Also, you need to be able to measure your compliance with standards and best practices

All of that goes into what we’re trying to accomplish with the E-Health check. So, let me give you an idea of what the E-Health Check – or the Evidence Health Check – is…

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It is a measurement of organizational health and it’s all specifically related to evidence management. There are two pieces: There’s a User Driven Survey and there’s a Self-Assessment Report. These are things that people will be able to use that will translate into meaningful improvements at your agency, that you can start to leverage today. 

I’d like to stop for just a second to kind of give you an idea of what our mission is at the Evidence Management Institute. We’re about partnering with people and training evidence managers tools to be successful. We want to elevate the industry. We want to change the culture of evidence management across the industry. So, we found a process that would be sustainable and would give people information at their fingertips; instantly. 

At the end of this questionnaire, you will have concrete data at your fingertips; in a meaningful context. It’s a problem solving tool; information that you can bring back to your Chief, or your sheriff, and show that these are the concrete issues that need to be addressed.

It’s a quick baseline. A preliminary guide. A starting point to figuring out where you’re at right now and where you need to go. And, there are a lot of benefits to having this compiled in one single space… It helps you understand the problem differently than you were able to before. 

I will say this is only going to be as accurate as the data is provided. As long as the data is accurate, it will yield results that are quantifiable. As we go along, you’ll see that it’s not an audit. I mean, it’s going to feel like a mini-audit because it gives you compliance measurements for a lot of different dimensions of evidence management.

The data that goes in is supplied by you. It’s not verified, it’s not checked. So, it’s not an independent, objective analysis of your operations. This is not going to give you analysis and insight into every area of your operations, but by the end of this webinar, you’ll see what it will provide for you, how to access it, and how to get there yourself. 

RELATED: FREE ONLINE EVIDENCE MANAGEMENT TRAINING

Regardless of what software system you use, we think this is something that’s going to move the needle for you. So, back to the questionnaire. There are two parts: There’s a questionnaire, and there is a PDF report. 

About the questionnaire, it’s completely online. There are 71 questions. To give you an idea of what we’re doing with the 71 pieces of data… we run them through 44 different formulas and we run those through 76 different scripts to produce a customized PDF. Immediately after completing the survey, you can download the report. 

We’ve taken six areas of evidence management and assigned a section score to them. The areas are things like security, accountability, packaging,etc. The system generates numeric scores based on your responses. If your answer to a question causes some concerns, we flag those responses and provide very specific recommendations that you can use to make improvements. 

The smallest report size that I’ve seen so far has been an 18 page document. That speaks to the comprehensiveness and the volume of the information.

To give you an idea of the analytics; some of the things that we’re looking at…

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We will do a quick staffing analysis. We’ll look at the intake efficiency of your operation. We’ll look at your three-year disposition ratios. We’ll give you a forecast for the disposition of evidence at your agency. Will also give you some indexes based on sustainable reporting and sustainable automation. We’ll see whether you currently use the best technology for efficiency. We also look at security and access controls and how many accountability processes are you engaging in regularly. We’ll also look at your SANE processing. 

I realize that there are different names and nomenclatures for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner kits out there, but that’s a really important issue in evidence management. You want to be at a hundred percent. If you’re not at a hundred percent, your agency is not doing what they ought to do with the evidence they have in storage. 

Your institutional knowledge of your operations is going to be critical. This has to be completed by an evidence custodian or someone with legitimate knowledge of the evidence operations at your agency. You’re not going to be able to complete this if you have a casual relationship with your evidence unit.

RELATED: EVIDENCE MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROCESSES

If you’re a chief, or a commander, or a supervisor that doesn’t have your finger on the pulse of the operations of that agency, have a person that works in evidence help you. Because, we’re going to ask very specific questions that evidence custodians understand. 

So as far as saving… you can stop the survey at any point. You can close the window if you use the same machine to access the link. It will pick up where you left off. There is no save button, but you will be able to finish it. 

The first thing it’s going to ask you is total agency size. This is where some people will mess up if they’re not paying attention. We’re asking for the total number of sworn and civilian employees at your agency. Next, we ask about the size of the population that your department is responsible for. 

The next page asks… Does the agency have full support from the agency chief executive and management? Other questions are about evidence personnel details, your agency’s policies for evidence management, the evidence storage capacity, and storage conditions.

This next question is about daily intake processing hours. And another thing we want to learn is how long does it take you to generate reports? How long would it take you to generate a list of narcotics items? And, one of my favorites is evidence submission data entry. Who’s responsible for documenting submission evidence? Hopefully, that answer for all of you is… it’s submitted by the police officers, electronically. 

After you’re done answering the questions – which should take about 15 minutes, on average –  you’re going to hit ‘Complete’ and that’s going to begin the process of instantly generating your report.”

As Shawn finished filling out the sample questionnaire – based on a fictitious client – a 19 page E-Health Report was generated. In Part 2 of this webinar, Shawn will discuss the results, and how they will help evidence custodians make positive changes ito their evidence management processes. 

Tracker Products and The Evidence Management Institute want to give you something productive to think about during this time of uncertainty… a series of free evidence management training and panel discussions. Watch and comment on the recordings here, or – to get in on the discussion – join the Evidence Management Community Forum.

Tracker Product’s SAFE evidence tracking software is more than just barcodes and inventory control, it’s end-to-end chain of custody software for physical and digital evidence, resolving each of the critical issues facing evidence management today. To learn more about Tracker Products, CLICK HERE.

Or, if you’re interested in Evidence Management Training, VISIT EMI HERE.