Whether firearms or safety tools, law enforcement officers use plenty of equipment to perform their everyday jobs. They also deal with evidence which could be any item of any size and shape. Most common of which are narcotics.
Law enforcement agencies must ensure that these items are safe and secure. They also need to inspire accountability from their officers. But with the ever-present risk of theft from the evidence room, doing all of the above becomes a challenge.
This post outlines four reasons why the law enforcement sector is now turning to smart locker systems to solve that challenge.
Easier Evidence Management
As mentioned earlier, law enforcement agencies hold many critical items. And that’s the main reason they need a complete asset tracking system integrated with the lockers in which they store their expensive equipment, firearms, and evidence.
A smart asset management system helps them track and monitor assets in each compartment of their locker system. And because they’re cloud-based, the system allows administrators to confirm if items are in their proper location. If not, the system will notify them immediately.
This asset tracking and monitoring capability are possible because of the RFID tags embedded in each asset, like a firearm or a piece of evidence. The smart asset management system can track these tags and know their exact location, condition, assigned user, and any other attribute linked with the asset.
This capability empowers administrators to follow the chain of custody as real-time data collection tracks the asset once an officer enters it into the system.
Improved Chain of Custody
Traditional locker systems tend to have looser regulations. This is why they’re prone to spoofed sign-ins, which allow unverified persons to access evidence rooms and special equipment. Then, the chain of custody in handling and storing evidence gets compromised. When that happens, a criminal walks free, or an innocent person is jailed, which puts the agency at risk for liability.
This is why storage access needs stricter authentication, aside from accurate tracking. Because smart asset and inventory management doesn’t rely on logbooks, keys, or locker combinations, users access the lockers via a smart terminal to verify their identities.
This terminal can use different authentication methods such as biometrics, PIN, and RFID tokens. All of which are nearly impossible to defraud, unlike a traditional locker system. And because every transaction is tied directly to the person accessing the locker during a specific period, restricted access points like evidence storage lockers remain safe from any suspicious activity.
With a smart locker system’s advanced officer authentication, many agencies have improved the quality of cases they present in trial.
This is closely related to the previous point, which discussed the traditional locker’s lack of proper authentication. Another problem with that is many items tend to go missing. Part of the reason is anyone with the key or locker combination can access the lockers regardless of whether they’re authorized.
For example, an officer’s weapon license might expire, or some officers might be required to take a seminar before they can use a new piece of equipment. Agencies implementing smart enterprise asset management simply restrict access based on several parameters. These could be certain hours per day or their expiration date in the case of weapon licenses. Administrators can program the system to lock out the user with an expired license until it’s renewed.
An asset tracking solution’s capability to restrict access exclusively to the right users at the right time has made a big difference in many police agencies, making missing assets a problem of the past.
Evidence and equipment lockers store many items in different shapes and sizes. That’s why they need to be flexible to accommodate any evidence with specific storage requirements and a wide variety of equipment for faster emergency response.
Two-way radios must be safely stored and fully charged to be ready for use. Smart lockers have charging ports, cables, and power outlets that keep these devices on full power whenever needed.
Different firearms, from pistols to rifles, must be secured when not in use. Larger weapons also need longer gun lockers. The best IT asset management solutions like Teqtivity have modular lockers in different sizes to easily accommodate any weapon an agency has.
Moreover, police departments also customized lockers with additional features like vents, fireproofing, and more authentication options to store narcotics and other hazardous materials.
Criminals are becoming more cunning and are looking for more ways to exploit the discrepancies in the law enforcement system. That’s why the law enforcement sector has turned to smart lockers for improved security, better visibility, and automation to handle their assets, such as weapons and evidence.
With the better tools that smart inventory management provides to control critical items, agencies are now more capable of ensuring that these items remain secure and far away from getting into the wrong hands. And most importantly, they are now better prepared for the future of law enforcement and the challenges that may come with it.