An Examination of Body-Worn Camera Digital Evidence Management (DEM) Strategies

An Examination of Body-Worn Camera Digital Evidence Management (DEM) Strategies


Arizona State University, Justice and Security Strategies


Brice Terpstra, M.S., Michael D. White, Ph.D., Aili Malm, Ph.D., Janne E. Gaub, Ph.D., Craig Uchida, Ph.D.

Over the last few years, thousands of law enforcement agencies in the United States have adopted body-worn cameras (BWCs), and those agencies immediately had to deal with the tremendous amount of digital evidence generated by the technology. Digital evidence management (DEM) is the process by which an agency manages, stores, and transmits the data generated by BWCs and other devices (e.g., other types of cameras, cell phones). DEM is a critically important feature of a successful BWC program.

An earlier study of seven jurisdictions (Uchida et al., 2021). examined the way in which BWC footage flowed through policing agencies and in the criminal justice system. The report provided an understanding of the key challenges and issues faced by law enforcement agencies and prosecutor offices as they use BWCs routinely.

To further our knowledge, a team of researchers conducted an online survey of agencies receiving federal funds for BWC through the Bureau of Justice Assistance Policy and Implementation (PIP) BWC funding program to address this gap. They asked agencies approximately 30 questions related to DEM including basic program management, internal uses of footage, external sharing, challenges, and future developments. Sixty-eight agencies completed the survey, and this report details those results.

Read the full report here.