POLICE Magazine Supplements

Investigative Technologies 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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TOTAL STATIONS Many options now exist for diagram- ming crime scenes, but total stations are still used by many law enforcement agencies. ese instruments use elec- tronic and optical technology to cal- culate data with lasers, and many de- partments nd that they t within their budgets. A total station works by measuring both vertical and horizontal angles and the slope distance from the instrument to a particular point. It usually includes an on-board computer to collect data and perform triangulation calculations. Many newer versions contain so•ware to compute results and create a map of the area, and can show the map on a touchscreen soon a•er measuring the points. Traditionally, two people were needed for operation. But robotic total stations allow one person to control the instrument via remote control from a distance. Total stations reliably produce highly accurate measurements of a scene. To make use of them, agencies must invest in their purchase and in training time at the outset. ey are most common- ly used for outdoor crime scenes be- cause they can be too large and heavy to properly set up and maneuver in the tight quarters found in many indoor crime scenes. A detective with a Colorado law en- forcement agency uses a total station along with other technology to doc- ument crime scenes. "I was involved in an outdoor murder investigation. During the initial investigation, sever- al tools were used to document a large crime scene which covered just under a quarter of a mile," he says. "e scene was documented utilizing photographs, both from the ground and from the air, 3D scans, and measurements. From the measurements and the diagram, I was able to create an animation based on my reconstruction of the events. e measurements, diagram, and resulting animation were admitted into evidence with no legal issues." 4 | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | I N V E S T IG AT I V E T E C H NO L O G I E S Options for crime scene diagramming include 3D laser scanners, tradition- al total stations, and the more compact TruPoint 300 from LTI. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY ALLOWS LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO DOCUMENT CRIME SCENES USING THE LEVEL OF ACCURACY NEEDED FOR THE SITUATION, WITH MUCH LESS TIME AND COST THAN IN THE PAST. Melanie Basich T ape measures and photographs used to be the standard equipment for doc- umenting any type of scene by law enforcement. But uneven ground and poor lighting posed challenges and a†ected the quality of results. It was also sometimes di‡cult to know what areas to focus on, and important evidence was o•en missed. Technology has come a long way since then, and o‡cers have multiple options to choose from depending on what level of detail is needed for the particular scene. CAPTURING CRIME SCENE IMAGES

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