3D laser scanners are a more accurate way of gathering forensics

 

This computer image provided by the Clark County Sheriff's Office and made from a 3-D laser scanner, shows a completed 3-D image. The blank spaces are areas that the scanner did not pick up. The scanner allows detectives to virtually return to a crime scene long after the police tape has been removed. (Clark County Sheriff's Office via AP)

This computer image provided by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and made from a 3-D laser scanner, shows a completed 3-D image. The blank spaces are areas that the scanner did not pick up. The scanner allows detectives to virtually return to a crime scene long after the police tape has been removed. (Clark County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Law enforcement across the United States is using 3D laser scanners to help the forensic process become more efficient and accurate.

Last month it was reported a growing skepticism in forensics because of analysts who intentionally or accidentally mishandled forensics. One way law enforcement is attempting to reduce doubt and human error is to use 3D laser scanners to gather evidence at a crime scene.

The 3D lasers scanners have many benefits to citizens and law enforcement. The scanners assist with gathering information at a traffic accident a lot quicker than an analyst doing everything by hand. Therefore, a car accident is cleared faster and reduces the amount of time traffic is at a standstill on busy highways. The scanners record a crime scene digitally, and allow law enforcement to view a crime scene from different angles, retrieve measurements, and process blood splatter analysis.

A computer monitor of the Earth Sciences' department of the University of Florence, displays a 3D laser scanning image of the grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Officials called off both the fuel removal and search operations of the cruise ship Costa Concordia after determining the ship had moved 4 centimeters (an inch and a half) over six hours. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

A computer monitor of the Earth Sciences’ department of the University of Florence, displays a 3D laser scanning image of the grounded cruise ship Costa Concordia off the Tuscan island of Giglio, Italy, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2012. Officials called off both the fuel removal and search operations of the cruise ship Costa Concordia after determining the ship had moved 4 centimeters (an inch and a half) over six hours. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)

There are many ways this process of gathering information reduces human error. The three-dimensional view of a crime scene gives law enforcement a better perspective than traditional photographs. If an analyst forgets to measure or makes a mistake in measurement at a crime scene, the technology automatically provides precise measurements, for example, the location of a victim’s body to a weapon. Also, the information is stored digitally and can be viewed in the future by law enforcement or a jury of a case.

Some three-dimensional lasers can pick up almost 1,000 data points per second, and is becoming more popular across the country. Although the cost of the scanners is expensive, there are police departments like Harris County Sheriff’s Office, who felt $170,000 is worth the three-dimensional scanner. The 3D laser scanners give hope in perfecting forensic science and reduce human error by analysts.

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