Lufkin Police train on forensic mapping equipment

By Morgan Thomas - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Forensic mapping sounds like something from your favorite crime drama on TV - but its actually a new tool at the Lufkin Police Department's disposal.

"TV shows like CSI have put a lot of pressure on departments because the juries expect to see stuff like they do on TV.  The departments and the software are getting there," said Timothy Lovett, forensic map trainer.

Lufkin Police Officers have spent the past week learning how to use equipment and software that creates 2 and 3-D images just like they use in TV courtrooms.

"It's a five day training course on the use of survey instrumentation in order to map crime scenes and accident scenes," explained L.P.D. Traffic Officer Toby Stanaland.

The equipment and software digitally measures points from a scene with a laser.  The measurements then go into a computer to create 2-D and 3-D images. Forensic mapping not only provides high-tech images for juries it also equips the police force to complete more accurate and efficient investigations.  Now officers can move on from one case to next in less time.

"Where it used to would take many hours to map out a scene this can be in 1 to 2 hours," said Officer Stanaland.

Lufkin drivers will now see roads open up much faster after crime and crash scene investigations.

"This technology, once it's on the scene, speeds up the process immensely.  Sites that we had to lock down for hours on end, on some freeways, bad wrecks - we'd see closures of roadways 5,6,7, 9 hours.  We go to those same type wrecks now and we basically can clear the scene somewhere between 1 to 2 hours even," said Lovett.

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