Law Enforcement Technology

JUL 2015

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Page 16 of 63 July 2015 Law Enforcement Technology 17 what investigators think is important at the time. Crime scene technicians set up the scanner and let it go to work, capturing everything so that if a witness comes forward a month down the line and a critical measurement is needed, you have the necessary data. "Crime and crash scene reconstruction has definitely come a long way. Whether the person is on the scene or in the lab, new tools and technologies are providing investigators and analysts with faster, more com- prehensive digital solutions," says Heather Parker-Fraser, market- ing manager, law enforcement, FARO Technologies Inc. She adds, "Depending on the size and available budget to an agency, crime scene tools can range from the very basic to the advanced. 35mm cameras, measuring devices like vinyl rulers, photomacrographic and L- scales, measuring wheels, CAD-mats and sketching templates are pretty basic tools that assist investigators with scene reconstruction." Getting more advanced, Total Stations and LiDARs offer a 'next-level' experience of collecting measurements and data. However, the most recent advancements are 3D Laser Scanners like FARO Technologies manufactures. "The beauty of the 3D Laser Scanner is that it does nearly everything the traditional tools do as well as the Total Stations. It measures, captures criti- cal evidence, creates videos and, using post-processing software, allows you to place your scans into the computer and reconstruct the environment for 2D perspective, simulation or even high- end animation," says Parker-Fraser. She says the range of a 3D laser scanner, its speed of capturing the data, ability to capture large scan areas, resolution of details, accuracy and sheer reduction in workflow and manpower provide its return on investment. Now, portable scanners have made it possible to capture smaller crime scenes with more flexibility, at a the software, produces very accurate reconstructions of the crime scene with precise measurement data. Laser scanners scan and measure everything at a crime scene, not just down…you can do all that with the 360 photograph. "If it's a particularly sensitive scene you can take the camera in, press 'go', leave it for a minute to do the capture, take it out and view the immersive images with minimal intrusion, and then decisions can be made from there." he says. "You can take multiple images as well. You can have all the information before the forensic guys go in. You can cap- ture the entire scene digitally before it is disrupted in any way." Laser scanners Different from the high resolu- tion cameras, laser scanners produce a number of measurement points, called a point cloud, that create the 3D reconstruction of a crime scene. This point cloud data, when interpreted by A computer rendering of a crime scene. Photo courtesy of Panoscan Much like [how] digital cameras replaced flm cameras, I feel 3D scanners will replace digital photography ... they will allow crime scenes to be recreated in such a manner that it will put the viewer physically in the scene." — Deputy Scott Lehmann, Dane County (Wisconsin) Sheriff's Department

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