Digital Version of November/December 2014 Print Edition
Fresno County gets scanner with homeland security grant
|Leica ScanStation C10|
The County of Fresno’s Sheriff’s Office bought a three dimensional scanner to assess threats to government buildings and other infrastructure in the county.
The Leica ScanStation C10 is being used to scan a variety of soft targets, mostly in the city of Fresno, CA, according to the county. The device will be valuable in scanning crime scenes as well as producing three-dimensional images of government buildings by the county’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.
According to Leica Geosystems, of Heerbrugg, Switzerland, the Fresno Sheriff's Office is the first law enforcement agency in the U.S. to acquire the ScanStation C10.
Fresno County board of supervisors voted to use homeland security grant funds to purchase the system in a $145,188 sole source purchase during its Sept. 22 meeting.
"Our initial targets are the Sheriff's Office headquarters building, the jail facilities, the Court House and the Forensics Laboratory," said Michael Koop, director of forensic services for the sheriff's office. "The scan data is being provided to our SWAT team to assist with their threat assessment and tactical planning."
The Leica ScanStation C10 produces an interactive 3-dimensional image of exteriors and interiors of scanned structures, like county schools, hospitals or the courthouse, according to the company. "We can put those images on a CD and hand them to our SWAT team or stream the [three-dimensional image] to a laptop computer for immediate on-scene use," said Koop.
The Leica Geosystems ScanStation is a compact and portable 3D laser scanner that can capture 50,000 measurement points per second out to a range of 900 feet, according to Leica, and 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.
"The way that law enforcement handles the processing of crime scenes has changed over the years," explained Margaret Mims, Fresno County sheriff . "And new technology is pushing that change even quicker. The Fresno County sheriff's Office now has the Leica C10 to assist with this issue, allowing us to preserve the scene in 3D exactly the way it was discovered."
"The ScanStation can also be used for homicides, major crimes and officer-involved shooting. The accuracy of the C10 is far greater than any other instrument normally used,” said Koop.
Nine members of the forensics lab's staff of 23 are currently trained to use the system, said Koop. "The set-up, imaging and scanning is fairly simple. You don't need a lot of tech savvy. People caught on very quickly," he said.