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CA DOJ Invests in 3D Crime-Scene Laser Scanners

January 29, 2009
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Norcross, Ga. - After seeing first-hand how the Leica Geosystems ScanStation 2 can be deployed to quickly measure and model extensive indoor and outdoor mass casualty mock crime scenes, the California Department of Justice's Bureau of Forensic Services (BFS) moved quickly to purchase two Leica ScanStation 2 high speed, high definition 3D laser scanning systems from Leica Geosystems. As the scientific arm of the California Attorney General’s Office, BFS forensic scientists collect, analyze, and compare physical evidence from crime scenes or persons for state and local law enforcement agencies, district attorneys, and the courts. The Bureau of Forensic Services operates a network of full-service laboratories in 10 regional services areas in California. Over 45 criminalists will be trained how to use the scanners to gather crime scene data.

Jill Spriggs, Chief of the Department of Justice BFS, says, “The Leica Geosystems ScanStation 2 will provide immediate value for our forensic teams in that they can quickly gather highly accurate data at crime scenes. The Scan Station 2 documents, diagrams and measures the crime scenes prior to evidence being removed from the scene.  This is a tremendous time savings for criminalists out in the field. Information gathered from the Scan Station 2 can be used to reconstruct the crime scene later back at the laboratory."

Developed for versatility and productivity, the mobile laser scanner platform is able to collect 50,000 measurements per second enabling crime scene investigators to “freeze the scene in time.”  Criminalists will use the Leica ScanStation 2 to photograph and laser scan (measure) a crime scene. An embedded high-resolution digital camera within ScanStation 2 provides detectives with valuable photos of the scene that can be used to aid in scanning and in data processing. Once gathered, the scanning software produces diagrams, scene reconstructions and other important documentation necessary to every crime scene investigation.

Spriggs adds, “Most importantly the scan data has been validated for forensic work and passed admissibility hearings in court."

The California Department of Justice is the third law enforcement agency in California to select the Leica joining the California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department which own eight Leica scanners between them.

 “Leica’s 3D laser scanning systems are being adopted by more and more law enforcement agencies who recognize that bringing our scanning technology to bear on a case sends a powerful message to everyone that all possible care is being taken to find the truth,” said Tony Grissim, Forensic Account Manager for Leica Geosystems.  “The traffic we are seeing on our forensic web site at www.leica-geosystems.com/us/forensic, tells us that interest in our solution is keen, especially since it started being showcased on A&E’s “Crime 360” program.  “Crime 360” had the largest audience for a series premiere in A&E history for a criminal justice program.”

The Leica ScanStation 2 can be used for forensic mapping at crash and homicide scenes, officer involved shootings, bomb/arson investigations and can also support a department’s homeland security mission.

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