New 3-D laser camera helps Iowa Quad Cities police

November  28, 2012

A new, high-tech scanner is helping police in Scott County collect evidence and improve efficiency. This morning, the Davenport Police Department showed reporters and local officials how the Faro Focus 3-D Scanner works, and explained how it will help officers and prosecutors. 

Mounted on a tripod, investigators set it up at crash sites and crime scenes.  The 3-D scanner uses a laser to collect measurements of millions of locations, called points and a built-in camera takes photos of the same scene. After the scans are loaded into a computer, a software program creates a 3-D environment called a point cloud. Then investigators examine and analyze it, and create videos or photographs pertinent to the case. 

Davenport Corporal, Kris Mayer (MAY-er), says it helps him document and preserve evidence much more quickly than sketching by hand or taking still pictures. 

The 3-D scanner also works at night and inside dark rooms because it scans a much wider range of the light spectrum than the human eye.

Scott County Attorney Mike Walton says it will also help him present evidence at trials, giving jurors much more vivid and detailed images.

A 67,000 dollar grant from the Scott County Regional Authority paid for most of the 71,000 dollar scanner system. And Mayer says ten investigators from the Davenport and Bettendorf police departments and Scott County Sheriff's Department have been trained to use it. Crime scene technicians will also learn how to operate the new scanner.