Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents train with 3-D laser scanners in Dalton

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents train with 3-D laser scanners in Dalton

January 22nd, 2012 by Joy Lukachick Smith in News

From left, Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers Jeremy Burton, from Athens, Ga.; Jessie Wilson, from Conyers, Ga.; and Jeff Roesler, from Athens, learn to operate 3-D scanners at Dalton High School.

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

DALTON, Ga. -- With a click of a button, Special Agent Tori Peacock sees a panoramic view of what appears to be the inside of a dairy barn.

If she zooms into the image on her laptop, the beams from the structure jut out and shadows from people show up on the screen in perfect, three-dimensional clarity.

The images are made up of multiple Leica C-10 scanner images with photos added for color, the latest technology in law enforcement.

In training that began last week, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents from across the state are learning to use the new laser scanning system this week at Dalton High School. They then will take their training into the field at future crime scenes.

"The scanner just allows us to put the jury into the crime scene," said Special Agent Steven Foster, who is based in Thomson, Ga.

The scanners, which take 50,000 measurements per second, can scan a room at different points and then put together a 3-D image.

The GBI already owns four scanners, which cost about $160,000 each, a price that includes the computer software, extensive training and a contract for annual calibrations.

This year, the GBI plans to buy four more cameras, which will put it ahead of most law enforcement agencies across the nation, said Jerry Scott, special agent in charge of the Calhoun field office.

The office, which covers Northwest Georgia, has a scanner that already has been used at several recent crime scenes, including the Erlanger at Hutcheson shooting on Jan. 6, Scott said.

Once the images are captured and downloaded, a specialist pieces the scene together and can clean up the image, Foster said, which involves zooming in on an area or making the image clearer, similar to an agent using a camera to zoom in on a crime scene. It doesn't alter the image, and agents also keep a hard copy of the original image, he said.

While the scanners also take photos, agents still will take their own photos at a crime scene for back-up, Scott said.

"We always have, and we always will," he said.


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