POLICE Magazine Supplements

Investigative Technologies 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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I N V E S T IG AT I V E T E C H NO L O G I E S | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 5 As can calibrating the systems at each location and breaking down the equip- ment aer use. ey must also must be used before other ocers enter the crime scene to conduct their investiga- tions, so some department policies and procedures may need to be changed to accommodate this. Downloading and processing the point cloud data can also take some time and requires trained op- erators. But most agencies say that the overall result is worth the cost and time investments for the detailed evidence the technology captures. DOCUMENTING WITH DRONES Where planes or helicopters may have been used for aerial photography in the past to help document crime scenes, small unmanned aircra systems (sUAS), more oen called drones, can now be used to not just photograph but take 3D scans of a scene from up above, at just a fraction of the cost of deploying a piloted aircra. e drone equipped with a 3D scan- ner ‚ies in a certain pattern to method- ically capture the entire scene from an aerial perspective. As with 3D scanners capturing data on the ground, all of the data points are combined to create a 3D point cloud. e data captured can then be measured, animated, and combined with traditional 3D CAD or 3D mod- els, and satellite imagery depending on the situation. All of the data can also be combined with data captured on the ground. Mapping soware helps to cre- ate the end results needed for evidence and courtroom presentations. It should be noted that for a law en- forcement agency to utilize drones for crime scene documentation, it must have at least one certi‡ed pilot who has gone through the process to receive the required training and met all regula- tions to operate the unmanned vehicle. en there are the costs of the soware needed to create an end product that can be used as evidence. But overall, drones are much more cost eˆective and time ecient than using manned aircra for the same tasks. And they can capture images that you just cannot get while on the ground of a crime scene. Q matched up with a data set. en they can see a real-time diagram to ensure accuracy and completeness before leav- ing the scene. Wireless technology lets investigators email ‡eld data from their tablet. QuickMap 3D has the ability to collect and store data and photos and export them all in a CAD-friendly for- mat. Users can also see a forensic dia- gram with interactive templates before printing. 3D LASER SCANNERS A complex crime scene such as a homi- cide involving multiple bodies might warrant the use of 3D scanners, which can capture millions of data points for very detailed documentation of wounds, weapons, and varied evidence. Unlike total stations or manual techniques, a highly advanced 3D laser scanner captures millions of data points to create a point cloud map. Multiple 360-degree scans can be combined to create a complete 3D view of a scene that can be revisited later in great detail. is allows detectives, prosecutors, and juries to see the scene of the crime ex- actly as it appeared when ‡rst captured. It also allows investigators to take pre- cise measurements and examine pieces of evidence they didn't realize were im- portant until aer the fact. "When I ‡rst started we used tape measures to establish a base line. en we used a total station, but it has lim- itations inside," says Lt. Mike Young of the Kearney (NE) Police Department. Among his other duties, he is an acci- dent and crime scene reconstructionist for his department. "With the 3D laser scanner, it works amazingly well both inside and outside, and it doesn't mat- ter if it's light or dark," he says. He has even used the technology to document charring for an arson investigation that helped pinpoint the origin of the ‡re. 3D laser scanning technology al- lows ocers to fully document a scene with fewer people and in less time than traditional photography and tape mea- sure techniques. But they are expensive and require that operators be trained in their use and know how to set them up properly, which can take some time. Diˆerent tools work for diˆerent cir- cumstances. Simpler technology may be sucient for simpler crime scenes. Laser Technology's Incident Map- ping Kit was designed for investiga- tors to quickly survey a scene using a lightweight, portable point-and-shoot device made to be used indoors or out- doors. It features laser technology with millimeter-grade accuracy and a so- ware user interface that requires min- imal training. It includes the LTI Tru- Point 300 compact total station laser measurement tool and QuickMap 3D for Android soware so investigators can map only the evidence they need. With this technology, ocers can take photos of the scene with the laser or tablet and have them automatically PHOTOS: LASER TECHNOLOGY INC. LTI's Incident Mapping Kit includes a TruPoint 300 compact total station, a tablet, mapping software, a tripod, and other accessories in a portable case.

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