BOZEMAN — Ten agents with the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) are being trained to work with a 3D Scanner.
Traditionally, a crime scene is recorded with two to three agents, a tape measure, a pad of paper, and a pen. At times, lasers and lesser scanners are utilized, but it is a long, technical process, DCI Investigation Bureau Chief Lee Johnson said.
“I’ve spent 18 years in the field investigation major crimes…and I’ve spent hours — up to days — just sketching and measuring, making sure we have everything - because once you’re done with a crime scene, that’s it,” Johnson said.
With a push of a button, the scanner begins to rotate around the room. Once complete, a USB drive can be uploaded to a computer program, which will transfer a realized 3D model of the scene.
The ability to manipulate view, angles, and precisely measure scale are all tools readily available to agents, investigators, and the courts.
“We’re always struggling as prosecutors to find the best way, the most accurate way, the most engaging way, for a jury to understand the evidence we are presenting,” Stephanie Robles said.
Stephanie Robles, the Assistant Attorney General, notes that this device will give a level of accuracy to the courts, and serve for better memory recall.
“When you ask someone to recall what they saw on the stand a couple of years ago, it can be challenging,” Johnson said.
At the moment, the agents are utilizing the scanner in training, and it will be ready to see a scene in the coming months.