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Law enforcement software is software which has been designed to assist law enforcement professionals in their work. A number of companies make out of the box products for law enforcement agencies large and small, and customized software can also be developed for unique applications. Computerization for law enforcement agencies is a powerful tool, as it makes it easier to access records, coordinate with other agencies, manage personnel, and perform a variety of other tasks.
Some law enforcement software is designed to deal with in-house issues, such as personnel scheduling, time keeping, and maintenance logs for vehicles, weapons, and equipment. Agencies can also use software to manage employee files, with logs on firearms certifications, training, sick days, and so forth. The chain of custody for evidence as well as the logs of materials kept in evidence can be managed with law enforcement software as well. Members of a law enforcement agency may also use software to brush up on code enforcement, regional laws, and other topics which may be relevant to their work.
One important application for law enforcement software is the digitization of case files. Software can integrate field reports, information about evidence, suspect interviews, and any other material related to a case in one convenient location. Software can also be used to manage criminal databases, including sex offender databases, along with records of citizen complaints, and information gathered for the purpose of generating crime statistics. The ability to look up incidents and topics in software can help agencies connect the dots on linked crimes more quickly, which can be a distinct advantage.
Being able to integrate with other databases is also critical. A police department with a hookup to a national database, for example, can run fingerprints quickly, rather than having to send out fingerprints and wait for a match. This coordination can help law enforcement agencies catch or prosecute criminals more quickly, and it reduces the risk that people will fall through the cracks.
There are some important security concerns involved with law enforcement software. Unauthorized access to the system could breach the chain of custody of evidence in a case, or simply allow someone to access sensitive information which should not be freely available to the public. A variety of security measures are used to control access to such software and to identify breaches when they occur. Especially in cases where multiple databases are linked and access could result in getting into the national government's computer systems, the software needs to be extremely robust.