CSI analyses are highly painstaking, and it can take hours and even days to thoroughly document a crime scene. Everything from blood spatter to bullet holes must be precisely documented the first time through. Generally, there is no going back to a crime scene once the CSIs have finished their work.
This is changing with the use of special photographic devices known as 3-D laser scanners. These revolutionary devices panoramically scan a location at the touch of a button and exactly record the entire scene in minutes. Once this documentation exists, it can be viewed multiple times giving investigators the chance to go back and check for clues they might have missed. Officials also view the technology as being more accurate than photographs.
Forensic scientists can accurately analyze bullet trajectories and lines of sight from these 3-D recreations. An additional advantage to laser scanning technology is that is may later reveal something to investigators about the crime scene that was originally overlooked or even dismissed as not relevant. It has all been captured on the video, so they can review it on their computers or mobile devices any time. The footage is also valuable during court proceedings, giving jurors a chance to view the crime scene for themselves in 3-D.
Once the province of large city police departments, smaller agencies are recognizing the utility of these scanners and purchasing them for their own CSIs. The Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office located in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is one of the most recent law enforcement agencies to implement the technology in their investigations, unveiling a $70,000 Faro 3-D Laser Scanning System in March 2015. This device is very lightweight at only 11 pounds.
3-D laser scanners are making life easier for CSIs and enhancing the quality of investigations and prosecutions by providing highly accurate images of crime scenes.