CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems (DISS)


College of Engineering and Computing


Steven D. Zink

Committee Member

Maxine S. Cohen

Committee Member

Gary C. Kessler


This research examined opinions of local law enforcement agencies’ patrol officers in the State of Georgia regarding preparedness and expectations for handling of digital evidence. The increased criminal use of technology requires that patrol officers be prepared to handle digital evidence in many different situations. The researcher’s goal was to gain insight into how patrol officers view their preparedness to handle digital evidence as well as their opinions on management expectations regarding patrol officers’ abilities to handle digital evidence. The research focused on identifying whether a gap existed between patrol officers’ opinions of digital evidence and the patrol officers’ views on what management expectations are for patrol officers handling digital evidence. Using a Web-based survey, the researcher collected data from 144 departments, 407 individual patrol officers in four strata across the State of Georgia. The analysis of the data found that most patrol officers handle digital evidence in at least some situations. The patrol officers’ opinions stated that most understood management expectations for handling of digital evidence and felt those expectations were realistic based on the officers’ current knowledge and training; therefore no significant gap was found. The patrol officers state that they need additional training in order to stay up to date with the current and future needs for handling existing and new technology.