Law Enforcement Technology

JUL 2015

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18 Law Enforcement Technology July 2015 www.officer.com lower cost than the more traditional laser scanners. "The Panoscan Point Gun 3D scan- ner allows crime scene investigators to recreate and diagram a scene faster and with more detail than ever before," says Dane County's Lehmann. "The Point Gun has been used for homicide investigations, motor vehicle accidents and to document bullet trajectory. [It] records measurements and captures imagery faster than the traditional method using a tape measure and a two dimensional diagram. The three dimensional view adds a new and unique perspective to reconstructing a crime scene. It gives the viewer the ability to put themselves in the scene and virtually walk through ... getting a perspective only those involved in the crime could experience." There is a trend towards more laser scanning in law enforcement, accord- ing to Panoscan's Chavalas. "The first revolution was digital cameras, which allowed law enforcement to take many more pictures than before," he details. "360-degree cameras have really started catching on, and now the latest trend is 3D laser scanners. Laser scanners are very good for outdoor accident scenes, but they are very expensive and they are cumbersome to move around. That's why we focused on doing a handheld, less expensive scanner that's easy to move around in confined spaces." Laser scanners make short work of capturing the necessary data at a crime or accident scene. "The most popular tool at the moment is the laser scan- ner, which can document crime and accident scenes by capturing millions of points at a time," says Eugene Liscio from AI2-3D. "Once all the scans are aligned together, they create a full three dimensional environment that can be used for analysis and visualization. The laser scanner provides a completely dif- ferent paradigm to traditional methods. The speed and amount of data captured is unsurpassed. Attempting to do this with traditional methods is simply either not possible or incredibly time consuming." Putting it all together Some departments have both the pan- oramic cameras and the laser scanners, allowing them to create an amazingly detailed reconstruction of the scene. "Our two linchpins for major crimes are the Leica C10 Scanner and the IStar camera," says Timothy Slusher, Crime Scene Investigator, Crime Lab, Montgomery County (Texas) Sheriff 's Office. "We've just recently acquired the IStar camera. Prior to that we were using the scanner's camera, but that was just OK quality. Right now, our protocol is that our investigators are all trained on the scanner and the IStar. They will go to a crime scene before anything is moved and will take overall photographs. Next we will scan the scene and mount the IStar from the same place as the scanner and take the panoramic pictures. They will repeat the same setup anywhere from two to four scans. If it's an outdoor scene, it could be as many as 12 or 14. We still take our own individual photographs. We still need the 8x10 or poster sized photos for court. Slusher explains they return to the lab (they have a dedicated computer that runs the Cyclone Leica software) and scan data into a dedicated file. " We have to export it and the IStar images, and we dump them into Color Cloud, the IStar's stitching software," he says. "Color Cloud stitches the images and the point cloud, so you get very clear and crisp images from which you can do your measurements, fly- throughs, witness point of views and scene diagrams." The National Travel Safety Board uses a variety of technologies, depen- dent on the type of accident scene and environment. "In some accidents, high resolution photographs are suf- ficient," says Kristin Poland, Ph.D., Senior Biomechanical Engineer, Office of Research and Engineering, National Transportation Safety Board. "In oth- ers, we may use the high resolution photographs in combination with Above: A screen shot of a crime scene image. At left: The LizardQ Spherical Imaging System. EVIDENCE & FORENSICS Photo courtesy of Panoscan

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