When a vehicle crash or crime happens, the first thing law enforcement agents do is secure the area to protect the evidence.
Once the scene is secure, an initial investigation of the scene will be conducted, with investigators trying to compile as much information as they can get. In a crash scene, for instance, investigators will use digital photography to capture vehicle locations, roadway signage as well as roadway markings like skids and gouges.
A lot of work goes into evidence gathering. First, investigators must ensure that those affected by the crash have received medical assistance, then interview occupants of the vehicle and witnesses in the area. After attending to the medical needs of those affected, the vehicles must now be assessed for damage. It is important that the damage assessed on-scene corresponds with the statements received from occupants of the vehicle and surrounding witnesses. It is at this point a crash reconstructionist may be invited for further evidence gathering.
Documentation of Evidence
Much of the work that goes into crash scene investigation involves the identification, documentation, and collection of evidence. Evidence in this case may not always be a physical object; even the absence of something can serve as evidence. Thus, a detail-oriented, methodical approach is required for investigators to ensure the process is complete. Before now, the use of diagrams, sketches, and tape measurements were common practice, but this takes up a lot of man-hours.
Unfortunately, these tools can hardly capture every part of a scene. In many cases, new information may be discovered which h would have changed the way law enforcement officers documented the scene. 3D scanners solve this problem. 3D scanners make for a more objective documentation process by collecting all data within its field of view.
Speed and Accuracy
Officers on-site of fatal vehicle collisions and crime scenes are faced with lots of challenges. They must collect data in an accurate, systematic, and comprehensive manner. Sometimes even under inclement weather, they must ensure data is captured quickly while the scene is fresh so evidence is not destroyed by rain or snow. It is for this reason that a 3D scanning program has become crucial for law enforcement agencies.
One of the most important benefits of 3D scanners is that it reduces the amount of time it takes for on-scene officers to clear a crime scene while capturing a large amount of data. A 3D laser scanner can do much more precise data capturing than an investigator who will be concerned about whether he’s holding the measuring tape the right way.
For small scenes, a 3D scanner can be setup in about 10 minutes, and the good news is that setting up the 3D scanner takes up the most time. The scan itself takes only few minutes; so, in less field hours, a large scene can be processes.
This also means that fewer people can be sent to process a crash or crime scene, ultimately increasing the efficiency of the department in charge of crime scene processing and keeping the agencies on budget.