Many local law enforcement agencies use dedicated crime scene investigators to help them locate, piece together, and analyze evidence. But after more than a decade of the sensational popularization of the field on television and in the movies, many CSI professionals have spoken out publicly against the popular misconception that the profession relies solely on high tech methods. These professionals insist that much of CSI work is performed by relying on old-fashioned techniques such as community outreach and pouring over witness statements.
But, the fact is that modern technology is having a huge impact on the way CSI professionals do their jobs. A good example of this is a new piece of forensic equipment that has found its home in California. Crime scene investigators in Carlsbad have a new toy to play with: a laser that can render, in three dimensions, practically any crime scene. The $50,000 scanner, called FARO Focus 3-D, uses a high-resolution camera and a spinning laser to scan a crime scene in about 10 to 15 minutes.
The scan is so accurate that it allows investigators to look at the crime scene from multiple angles and even measure distances without using rulers or measuring tape. The scans are extremely valuable to CSI professionals since the images are digital and they allow investigators to document a crime scene in a manner that far exceeds what an ordinary camera is capable of.
The 3-D technology can be used in multiple applications including for accident reconstruction, and to scan the inside and outside of buildings. The scan is so sensitive that tiny cracks in a wall or in the road are likely to be represented in the final interactive rendering. This kind of technology is helping crime scene investigators meet jurors’ expectations that the CSI professionals have novel and high tech evidence to present at trial.