Reconstructing crime and crash scenes with 3D laser scanners

Police in Salt Lake City, Utah have begun using 3D laser scanning technology in order to reconstruct and preserve crime and crash scene data for analysis—a method that has saved both time and manpower for the force.

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Police in Salt Lake City, Utah have begun using 3D laser scanning technology in order to reconstruct and preserve crime and crash scene data for analysis—a method that has saved both time and manpower for the force.

The Unified Police Department in Salt Lake City area is using FARO Focus3D Slaser scanners to capture scenes and preserve them for future analysis. The scanner works by emitting a laser beam from a rotating mirror out toward the area being scanned. The unit then distributes the laser beam at a vertical range of 305° and a horizontal range of 360°, and the beam is reflected back to the scanner by objects in its path. The distance to the objects defining an area is calculated as well as their relative vertical and horizontal angles, and the data is captured and transmitted via WLAN for calculating precise 3D models.

FARO Focus3DS features a measurement speed of up to 976,000 points/second and a range focus of 0.6 – 120M. It also features an integrated color camera, a touchscreen display, an SD card for data management, a height sensor, and a dual axis compensator which enables scans to have integrated level information.

Early in the month a pedestrian was hit and killed in a crash in Taylorsville, Utah, and crash investigators used the FARO laser scanner to reconstruct the incident, according to Fox 13 News in Salt Lake City. In the data captured by the scanner, police were able to glean evidence from analyzing the crash recreation.

"This has taken us somewhere that we’ve never really been able to go before, and now we’re going there on every case," he said. "Our cases are more detailed because of this," Michael Anderson, Unified Police Department detective said in the Fox video. "They are more accurate, and we are producing a product that, quite frankly, we never could have envisioned that we would be producing in a law enforcement setting."

View the Fox13 story.
View more information on the FARO Focus3DS laser scanner.

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