With its 230 agents working an average of 300 death investigations a year, including almost all officer-involved shootings, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) has one of the most sophisticated, well-equipped crime laboratories in the country. Now, with the purchase of a 3D laser scanner from Leica Geosystems, the agency has added a powerful forensic tool that enables investigators to quickly document and measure a crime scene using laser mapping technology that provides an extremely accurate three-dimensional picture of the scene. In addition, the laser system can provide digital color photographs and sophisticated graphic presentations of a crime scene for use by prosecutors in courtroom proceedings.
Ive long maintained we have the best trained crime scene investigators in the country, said the agencys Director, Vernon Keenan. They have a tremendous amount of experience and theyre very busy, and we make every effort to ensure they have the very best tools at their disposal. With this important acquisition, they now have a versatile instrument for forensic documentation that embodies the very latest in proven technology.
The Leica Geosystems ScanStation C10 is an easy-to-use, compact and portable 3D laser scanner that can capture 50,000 measurement points per second out to a range of 900 feet. The system also features an internal digital camera for panoramic photography. The technology is used by law enforcement agencies all over the world for crime scene investigation, vulnerability and threat assessments, post-blast investigation, police action inquiries, accident investigations and more.
Keenan explained the GBI has on several previous occasions conducted ScanStation mapping using instruments borrowed from other agencies assisting with investigations. Now that we have this equipment, well be routinely deploying it, and certainly use it at all major crime scenes were involved with. He added the Leica system minimizes the potential for human error which can sometimes undermine the credibility of the prosecutions evidence in a criminal trial.
Historically investigators have used tools like measuring tape to document a crime scene which is not only tedious but time-consuming. With the laser measurements, the process is not only easier and faster but provides an exceptionally high degree of accuracy.
In addition, the Leica scanner is capable of generating detailed graphic presentations that can be used as compelling courtroom exhibits, something that in recent years has become increasingly important.
What law enforcement is encountering today is the so-called CSI effect, Keenan said. Television shows like CSI have created in the publics mind the impression that all law enforcement agencies have tremendous technical capabilities to reconstruct every facet of a crime scene, and therefore an expectation to see that technology demonstrated in the courtroom. In fact, this is not the case. Much of that expectation is based on fiction, but there is great technology such as this Leica scanner that IS available. With juries, and even judges, now expecting law enforcement to deliver extremely accurate details about what happened at a crime scene, we can with this instrument generate sophisticated documentation of a crime scene that are very, very accurate and have much more appeal to prosecutors and juries.
When you incorporate ScanStation technology with the great work done by the GBI crime laboratory, Keenan concluded, We can fully meet the expectations of a jury as it relates to the burden of proof.
Leica Geosystemswhen it has to be right.
With close to 200 years of pioneering solutions to measure the world, Leica Geosystems is trusted by professionals worldwide to help them capture, analyze and present spatial information. The company is best known for its broad array of products that accurately capture, model quickly, analyze easily, visualize and present spatial information. Based in Heerbrugg, Switzerland, Leica Geosystems is a global company with tens of thousands of customers supported by more than 3,500 employees in 28 countries and hundreds of partners located in more than 120 countries. Leica Geosystems is part of the Hexagon Group, Sweden.