The National Institute of Standards and Technology, in collaboration with the National Institute of Justice, is in the process of developing best practices for the management of physical evidence in our criminal justice system. In order to engage stakeholders, inform recommendations, identify knowledge gaps, and develop educational opportunities, we must hear from those who manage property and evidence directly. The Evidence Management Survey is an important tool to obtain this information and will be used to increase awareness about strengths and challenges in the evidence management industry.
The survey is now complete. It was open to both U.S. and international agencies. We received an overwhelming response and thank you for your participation. Survey results will be published soon and linked here.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Evidence Management Survey
Who should complete the survey?
The Evidence Management Survey is intended for property and evidence handlers across multiple disciplines and agencies, including law enforcement, courts, healthcare facilities, forensic laboratories, and coroner and medical examiner’s offices. Your input is critical whether you are an entity of one or an agency of thousands. Please help us by encouraging as many people as possible from your agency to complete the survey. All those who handle or manage property and evidence can participate at all experience levels.
What is the purpose of the survey?
The survey’s primary purpose is to obtain information regarding property and evidence management practices and the extent of evidence management issues from collection through disposition. These issues include collection, storage, transfer, and disposition practices, as well as related policies, protocols, and standard operating procedures.
Who is conducting the survey?
The NIJ is sponsoring this survey as one project among several led by NIST and NIJ in consultation with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and federal laboratories to establish evidence retention best practices as required by the 2016 Justice for All Act.
How was the survey developed?
The survey was developed in consultation with the EMSC, a group of approximately 20 stakeholders selected by NIST and NIJ. These stakeholders represent state, local, and federal agencies and private organizations responsible for managing physical evidence. Subject matter experts from different disciplines whose day-to-day practices involve handling and managing evidence were also involved in the survey development process. With leadership from NIST, the steering committee developed the survey and email lists representative of the CoP and completed pre-testing with a small group representing the CoP. Suggestions for improving the survey were discussed with the EMSC and integrated as appropriate.
What will you do with the results of the survey?
Resources for property and evidence management practices are limited, particularly those that apply to diverse evidence handler CoP stakeholders. This survey is the initial information-gathering phase to assess CoP stakeholders’ needs. Information collected from stakeholders completing the survey will be incorporated into a final report outlining recommended evidence management best practices. This NIST-published report will also include emerging themes related to educational needs, policy development, and barriers to managing physical evidence effectively.