Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $1,000,000)
This grant request is to improve the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) ability to access, process and interpret digital evidence from Body Worn Camera (BWC) and other digital evidence. The OCDA is a leader in the BWC and digital evidence processing arena. Currently, OCDA supports 31 local Law Enforcement Agencies, 22 of which have BWC programs. The result is a regular ingestion of BWC evidence from 3,972 individually assigned BWCs. In 2021, OCDA ingested 73,956 BWC videos in the commercially available digital evidence integration platform known as Evidence.com. Additionally, through this same platform, OCDA ingested 30,955 other digital videos, 4,765 digital audio files, 117,260 digital photograph files, and 933 digital documents.
Currently, BWC videos and digital evidence ingested by OCDA are maintained within three evidence repositories: cloud based Evidence.com, an onsite relational database, and legacy digital storage media. If a criminal case is filed, OCDA shares digital evidence with defense attorneys in similar fashion: cloud-based sharing, legacy digital storage media and through an OCDA purpose-built software application that supports an electronic file transfer and download. The evidence repositories and sharing systems are not linked. Maintaining digital evidence in these unlinked systems is complicated and inefficient.
The proposed project will consolidate and link disparate digital evidence systems and casefile information together in a Virtually Integrated and Federated System (VIFS). The anticipated outcomes are an increase in regular access to BWC videos, an increase in the accurate interpretation of BWC videos, a reduction in human error in digital evidence production, and an increase in prosecutor, defense attorney, and judicial confidence that digital evidence has been appropriately shared. The primary service area is Orange County (population 3.1 million), located in Southern California. By creating a more efficient system for accessing digital evidence, the project will benefit prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement agencies and ultimately County residents with technological innovation that promotes accountability and justice for all victims. Grant funds will provide for additional Cloud storage and for contractual services to assist OCDA’s BWC team of legal and technical staff with design and implementation in each phase of the project. The OCDA will contribute an in-kind match of project personnel as a demonstration of its commitment to leveraging resources to strengthen its BWC Program.