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The Omaha Police Department's Forensic Investigations Section (OPDFIS) is a twenty-six (26) member forensic analysis and crime scene unit within the Omaha Police Department in Omaha, NE. It is the largest forensic unit in Nebraska and one of the busiest forensic units in the country. In November of 2013, OPDFIS acquired a Leica ScanStation C10. This was the first piece of High-Definition Survey (HDS) equipment put into use by the OPDFIS Crime Scene unit. OPDFIS has recently also acquired a handheld DotProduct DPI-8 unit to supplement our high-density 3D mapping toolbox. To date, the ScanStation C10 has been deployed at more than 200 separate incidents. OPDFIS utilizes this equipment in all cases of Homicide, Questionable Death, Officer Involved Shootings, and Felony Assaults in which the victim may eventually die from injuries. OPDFIS' strategic plan for the laser scanner and 3D data include preservation of crime scenes for cold casework, integration with surveillance video, integration with the investigative process, and using the data as a vehicle for presenting multi-modal evidence to the courts. Standard procedures and data storage protocols previously established for crime scene mapping with Electronic Distance Measurement (EDM) devices and Total Stations were adapted to encompass the more comprehensive data sets produced from laser scans. Specialized processes and training were developed to insure measurement validity of the new process and maintain much needed efficiency. We have found that some additional software, accessories, processing tools and advanced techniques are required to present the crime scene scan data in a way that is accessible and relevant to investigators and ultimately the trier of fact. OPDFIS has turned to software solutions from Leica Geosystems (Cyclone and TruView) and Microsurvey (MapScenes) to process laser scan data. OPDFIS is currently investigating Leica Geosystems’ JetStream software as a deliverable and distribution option. With these products OPDFIS produces 2D diagrams, fly-through animations, investigative tools, multimedia presentations, and 3D demonstrative exhibits. This presentation will describe current best practices and certain cases where laser scanning has already made a difference in the adjudication process. The presenter, William Henningsen, also provides contractual work for Collision Forensic Solutions (CFS), a private firm that provides forensic mapping services for vehicular accident scenes, industrial accidents, and fire scenes using Leica TPS equipment and Leica HDS scanners. William has adapted the forensically sound and efficient processes used by the Omaha Police Forensic Investigations Section to add value and validity to the work done at CFS. In addition, CFS is poised to provide this type of support service to law enforcement services and private forensic investigators unfamiliar with HDS survey or that are otherwise unable to acquire HDS survey equipment.
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