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Laser scanner helps cops capture data from accident, crime scenes

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Posted at 10:22 PM, Dec 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-15 00:22:02-05

SALT LAKE CITY – The Unified Police Department said they have a new way to capture crash and crime scenes, and they said the new tool can do the job in half the time of the older technology.

The system is called FARO, and it reconstructs and preserves crime and crash scene data using lasers.

Michael Anderson is a detective with the Unified Police Department, and he said it represents a significant improvement.

“We've really come from rolling tape measures, to using total station laser surveying equipment, to the latest equipment that we use is laser scanners,” he said.

Anderson said whatever the FARO laser scanner sees, it measures.

“Whether it’s a table or a chair or a room as a whole, its capturing the way that it sits,” he said.

The system was used earlier this month at an accident where a woman was hit and killed by a car, and in the video above the view captured by the equipment can be seen.

“You're looking at the scene now from any view any angle that you want, and it's all three dimensional,” Anderson said. “What we have here is preservation of a scene for life.”

Anderson said the FARO saves them time and manpower, and he said the tools allow them to recreate and analyze the scene later, even in court.

"This has taken us somewhere that we've never really been able to go before, and now we're going there on every case,” he said. “Our cases are more detailed because of this. They are more accurate, and  we are producing a product that, quite frankly, we never could have envisioned that we would be producing in a law enforcement setting."