PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A special piece of equipment is making it easier for the Palm Springs Police Department to investigate deadly collisions. Officers showcased the Faro laser scanner which maps any scene in a matter of minutes.
Officer Alan Donovan, the person who handles this special equipment said the scanner could take 84 photos per scan and allows officers to spray an area with laser points and record a scene.
“This device allows us to go into that scenario and scan and obtain so much data that once we leave it, we never have to go back to it,” said Officer Donovan.
He said the scanner was a massive improvement for officers investigating a deadly accident. Previously, a person had to physically mark each point at a scene when taking measurements while the Faro scanner could automatically make millions of points. That allowed for the data gathered to be extremely precise.
“We can get to 0.125 inches of error which is essential if you took your fingernail and turned it sideways and looked at the thickness of it,” Officer Donovan said.
Once the data was loaded, officers could actually recreate the scene through pictures and animation. Officer Donovan said the technology and this ability created an invaluable tool for officers if they needed to present evidence in court.
"You talk about a picture being worth a thousand words...an animation is worth a million,” he said.
The equipment was donated to the police department by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians two years ago and costs about $85,000 in total for the equipment and software.
Officer Donovan said so far, the scanner had mostly been used in fatal collision investigations but could have other potential uses the police department had yet to explore.