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Cracking the Case: Charlotte County detectives using 3D laser scanner

Posted at 6:19 AM, Feb 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 10:41:56-04

CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. -- Four in Your Corner sat down with the Crime Scene Supervisor for the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office to get an inside look at how their Faro 3D Laser Scanner works. The tool gives investigators a way to almost step back into a crime scene after it's been cleared.

Kary Brese said it's used for more serious crimes like stabbings, shootings, and scenes with a lot of evidence that needs to be captured with detailed measurements.

"Any death that is obviously suspicious, any deaths involving gunshots," she said.

To use it, first Brese said you enter a case number and set parameters. Then a laser comes out, a mirror spins to rotate the laser, and at the same time, the device itself roates.

"Another helpful tool to help us do as detailed documentation as possible," Brese said.

Taking the scans is time consuming. Brese said if detectives are working a homicide case in, for example, a single family home:

"We're going to scan all the way around outside the house as well as everything inside of the house. Every room, every area," she said.

Each scan can take two minutes, with more detailed ones taking even longer. And investigators need multiple scans per room.

"When you're talking doing 40-50 scans, that's obviously going to take hours," she said.

Lt. John Heck said Forensics used the Faro scanner at an officer-involved shooting in Port Charlotte in November.

"That was outside a McDonald's parking lot, so a lot of different moving parts we had going on," Lt. Heck said.

He said detectives on scenes like that are usually working 15-20 cases at a time.

"To go back and be able to look at the scene as it was when they were on there that day, its a huge benefit to them during their investigation," he said.

He said it's not only useful in cracking the case, but also when it comes to serving justice.

"Now the detective can go back and almost live in that scene as it was the day they were there, which a lot of time, we're talking a couple years, if not longer, before we go to trial on a case," Lt. Heck said.

He said the State has to do their own investigation into what happened that day, and the Faro scanner gives state investigators a detailed outline of what the scene looked like on the day the shooting happened.