Erie County Has New High-Tach Crime Scene Tool

January 20, 2011 Updated Jan 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM EDT

By WKBW News

...

Erie County Has New High-Tach Crime Scene Tool

January 20, 2011 Updated Jan 20, 2011 at 2:39 PM EDT

( release )

Erie County Executive Chris Collins, Central Police Services (CPS) Commissioner Peter Vito and Public Safety Lab Director Dr. John Simich gathered to demonstrate a new, high-tech crime scene tool called the Leica Scan Station. Erie County is the first agency in the area to purchase this new machine, which can catalog and measure entire rooms.

The Leica Scan Station was originally designed for surveying. It is now used by many law enforcement agencies as an additional documentation tool at crime scenes. The scanner takes 260 images of a room and records measurements of more than one million points within the room. After a crime scene is cleared, investigators can go back and see 3-D images of the scene from a birds-eye view. The scanner can also catalog entire buildings and outdoor crime scenes. It measures and catalogs approximately 450 feet in each direction.

Erie County has already trained detectives in Amherst, Cheektowaga and Tonawanda to use the scanner at crime scenes, and it will be made available whenever the need arises. The County also plans to survey critical infrastructure, like chemical plants and sports stadiums, to be better prepared in the event of emergencies. A demonstration of the scanner was given by CPS Lab Director Dr. John Simich at the press conference.

Erie County Executive Chris Collins said, “Public safety is a top priority of my administration, and this new tool will be very helpful to law enforcement agencies throughout the County. The technology is very impressive and will help us better prepare for any emergencies or natural disasters that may occur in the future.”

“This technology is the way of the future in law enforcement,” said CPS Commissioner Peter Vito. “It gives us a window back into a crime scene long after everything has been cleaned up. I think it will be a very useful tool in court cases involving major crimes.”

The Leica Scan Station cost $175,000 and was paid for with Homeland Security Funds. Demonstrations of its capabilities are available online at http://www.leica-geosystems.us/forensic/index.html.