The Forensic Advantage® application platform provides specific, market oriented technology for the unique requirements of Crime Laboratories and Medical Examiner Offices.  Both Case Management Systems are secure, cost-effective solutions that help users automate their defined business processes. The applications are seamlessly integrated with each other and provide comprehensive features that enable a high degree of collaboration capabilities for geographically dispersed staff members that need to work any case, across multiple disciplines, agencies or laboratories.

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Forensic Advantage® for Crime Laboratories is an innovative, easy-to-use solution that optimizes how laboratories are managed and operated.  Online data sources provide forensic examiners and law enforcement agencies with immediate access to data, improving their productivity and ability to communicate and take decisive action.  In addition, full integration with the Microsoft Office System gives examiners familiar tools to streamline and automate business processes. The amount of paper associated with collecting and analyzing evidence is reduced, driving down costs.

 

Forensic Advantage is a COTS product that was designed and developed to address the unique case and evidence management requirements of local, state and federal forensic laboratories, law enforcement agencies, medical examiners and digital forensic labs.  In order to maximize the value, flexibility and scalability of the solution, Forensic Advantage® was designed as a “COTS product built with COTS components”. 

 

Developed using open-standards and non-proprietary technologies, Forensic Advantage benefits from a modular architecture that leverages the underlying capabilities of each COTS component.  The ‘glue’ that ties various COTS products together is Microsoft’s Visual Studio .NET.  Using industry-standard design and development techniques, Forensic Advantage  Systems built a modular, object-oriented application suite that can be configured to address variable business processes and data tracking requirements.  In fact, most customizations requested by customer entities are addressed by changing underlying templates and/or business rules as opposed to application code.

A core COTS component of the Forensic Advantage application is Microsoft Office System.  Leveraging a business productivity suite such as Office provides a level of process automation that is not only user-friendly but grows with future iterations of the Office suite as well.

The data warehousing component of Forensic Advantage leverages Microsoft SQL Server for departmental and enterprise data collection.  In addition to providing a foundation for secure and auditable data transactions, SQL Server provides an economical and scalable platform for desktop, workgroup, departmental, agency and enterprise-wide data management and reporting. 

Microsoft SQL Reporting Services provides a flexible reporting tool that can be used to report across various levels of data in a timely and efficient manner.  SQL Server’s adherence to, and support of, industry standards also promotes bilateral communication with disparate systems, facilitating the efficient migration of data from legacy applications. The functional  modules of the Forensic Advantage Crime Laboratory application are listed below:

» Administration
The Administration module provides numerous tools to facilitate timely and effective system maintenance and administration. Role-based security, management reporting, database auditing and exception processes are all handled within this module.

» Firearms Module
The Firearms module can be configured to inventory, track and manage a comprehensive firearms reference collection.
» AuthXAccess
AuthXAccess was architected to make identity management deployment easy. The solution delivers secure extranet access by equipping customers with the ability to manage credentials for their own users. The module provides a centralized system for secure account management and eliminates the need for custom software for each external customer connection.

» Instrument Integration
Integration with instrumentation is performed using an intelligent “folder watcher” that enables Forensic Advantage to collect data files and reports shortly after they are produced.  Once captured, these files and reports are managed as part of the case folder.

» BrAD Breath Alcohol Module

The Breath Alcohol Database (BrAD) tracks and stores Intoxilyzer® records that measure drivers’ breath alcohol levels.  This module, which is seamlessly integrated with the Forensic Advantage LIMS platform helps forensic and law enforcement agencies track the maintenance histories of their Intoxilyzer® devices, including most recent certification dates and when instrument operators need to be re-certified. BrAD also handles subpoena duces tecum requests for Intoxilyzer® certifications and calibration histories, rendering responses in Adobe PDF format and automatically e-mailing, faxing or mailing them to attorneys.

» Object Repository
Object Repository is a module that can be included within a Forensic Advantage LIMS platform deployment and/or as a standalone application. The product enables complete management of all digital content. This enterprise solution is designed to manage and protect the value of critical electronic data throughout its entire lifecycle. The module manages the secure storage and transfer of digital records, such as crime scene photos, images and reports.
» Case Processing
Case Processing provides tools for managing caseloads at varying levels.  Supervisors have the ability to assign/review caseloads while examiners are provided with tools that automate the collection of exam results and the production of case-related documentation.  Configurable backlog reports facilitate informed decisions regarding staffing and budget considerations.

» PreLog Web
PreLog Web can be configured to speed the submission of evidence and distribution of reports via the Internet.  Representatives may leverage the Internet to enter evidence submission forms before arriving.  Agencies may view the status of their requests and download reports when available.
» Discovery Module
The Discovery module can be configured to produce an electronic file that represents the entirety of a completed case.  The resulting file contains a representation of specified case entities and may be archived and/or distributed outside the agency for collaborative use enterprise wide.

» Property Connect
Automates the process of capturing data from existing property management systems, with full manipulation capabilities, and subsequent entry into the Forensic Advantage platform.
» DNA Databank
The Databank provides a means for accurately capturing and tracking demographic information during the DNA analysis and matching process.  Forensic Advantage Systems’ Databank facilitates anonymous matching of samples against local, state and federal sample database, protecting individual privacy while ensuring the integrity of the overall process.

» Quality Advantage Portal
Quality Advantage is an “intelligent portal” that connects users, teams, and knowledge so that every staff member can take advantage of relevant information across departments in order to work more efficiently. The web based portal integrates information from various systems into one application through single sign-on and enterprise integration, with flexible deployment options and management tools.
» Evidence
The Evidence module tracks property from collection through disposition.  Leveraging barcodes and password protected access, the system ensures a true chain-of-custody by requiring legitimate two-sided transfers.  Hierarchical evidence is supported, including derivative items, sub-items, containers, batches and lockbox transfers.

» Resource Manager
The Resource Manager may be configured to manage the location, status and disposition of items such as lab instruments, firearms, reference materials, safety equipment, chemical reagents and exam kits.  In addition, it may be configured to ensure that lab instrumentation and chemical reagents meet or exceed the laboratory’s current Standard Operating Procedures.

» FA Gateway
Easy to use portal provides a central location and common launch pad for all Forensic Advantage web based modules and applications.

» Testimony
The
Testimony component tracks subpoenas for expert testimony, leveraging Outlook to ensure that requested appearances are added to an examiners’ schedule.  Following the appearance, time, travel and expense information is collected to facilitate detailed reporting of any/all court appearances.