Kentucky State Police revealed a 3D scanner – a Leica ScanStaion C10 – that could cut crime and crash scene investigation times in half.
Commissioner Rodney Brewer said the $65,000 scanner – purchased with a grant provided by the Violence Against Women Act and asset forfeiture funds – is the first of its kind in Kentucky, and has been used for nine open cases, including a murder-suicide in Powell County Tuesday night.
The new equipment will also help during accident investigations by allowing roads to open more quickly after wrecks. Brewer said the time and personnel at a road accident could be cut by 40-50 percent.
The scanner – about the size of a small suitcase – sits on a 5.5-foot stand and rotates to take 3D images of a scene – using laser-mapping technology. Sgt. Chad Mills, part of the state police crash reconstruction team, said it can collect about 50,000 measurement points per second – an operation that used to be done manually.
“It minimizes the potential for human error – which can undermine the credibility of our evidence, but hopefully it will ensure good, solid convictions on our cases,” Brewer said.
Mills, a 12-year veteran of the state police, said he can walk away while the scanner maps the area, and he can control it from an application on his smartphone.
“It’s amazing how far technology has come,” he said during a press conference Wednesday morning at state police headquarters.
The Powell County case was a domestic violence assault that resulted in the death of one woman, a serious gunshot wound to a second womam and a suicide by a perpetrator, Brewer said.
Officers were able to complete a timely investigation at the scene with the new machine by collecting measurements and photographs of evidence to reconstruct a digital replica of the area.
The collected images are put into a software program that recreates the crime scene. They can be used throughout the investigation and during a jury trial.
“It allows us to take the jury back into the crime scene,” Mills said.
The scanner will also be used for arson investigations, Brewer added. State police may purchase a second scanner in the future.
“We’ve come along way from still photographs and stretching tapes for measurements taken by hand,” Brewer said.