Mola Lenghi, Arlington Journalist
The Arlington Police Department uses laser scanners to reproduce images of crime scenes.
Arlington police are using breakthrough crime scene technology you expect to see on television shows.
The department has a 3D laser scanner to reconstruct crime scenes -- not just a loose reconstruction, but an identical one.
“This is one of those things you see on TV, and people always ask us, 'How realistic is it?’ Well, this is one of those things that the people on TV would be jealous of having,” Sgt. Jeff Davis said.
The scanner has a 900-foot range, capturing up to 50,000 points of a location. It allows those who weren't at the scene of a crime to see the scene anyway.
Prosecutors can basically put the jury in shoes of a witness, Davis said. They can walk jurors through a reconstruction and show what witnesses and victims saw.
In December, the scanner captured a homicide scene after a man was shot and killed at an Arlington bar. Just a few days later, police used it at the scene of a Collins Street crash and shooting that left two people dead.
Police say the ability to access crime scenes as they were on the day of the crime weeks, months or even years later can be crucial to an investigation.
It's a long way from the still photographs and hand measurements of the past. The scanner lets investigators get a measurement they didn't originally capture at the scene.
"If you're taking a measurement by hand, you need to measure everything that you want to have," Davis said.
The Arlington Police Department is the only police agency in North Texas with the device, which was used after the Fort Hood massacre more than two years ago and after the 2010 attack on an Austin Internal Revenue Service building.