How GBI Raised the Bar for Officer-Involved Shooting Investigations

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation acquired its first of eight Leica ScanStation 3D laser scanners in 2011. In four short years, the scanner’s speed, accuracy and comprehensiveness have made the cutting-edge technology one of the bureau’s essential documentation tools. “The Leica ScanStation is integral to our crime scene investigation protocol,” said GBI Director Vernon Keenan. “We would never consider working a major investigation involving a crime scene without using the Leica device.”

ScanStation Speeds Use-of-Force Investigations on Major Roadways

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The ScanStation has proven itself to be an especially useful and cost-effective tool for police use-of-force investigations on major roadways. Scenes such as these place an added degree of pressure on investigators due to the resultant road closures, which not only impede mobility but also cost the local economy hundreds of thousands of dollars per hour in lost commerce.

The GBI recently investigated a high-speed pursuit that turned into a shootout on one of Atlanta’s major interstate highways at the height of rush hour. After the investigation closed the roadway for several hours, Keenan (pictured) implemented a new protocol to expedite investigations and restore the flow of traffic. “The policy we have now is that when we have a shooting incident on a major freeway,” he said, “we deploy multiple Leica instruments to get the scene more rapidly investigated and the freeways opened back up.”

All use-of-deadly-force cases are very serious and detailed investigations for the bureau. “In each of these instances,” Keenan said, “we use the Leica ScanStation as part of the shooting-scene investigation to speed up the process of conducting the investigation.”

Georgia Bureau of Investigation laser scanner

Scan Data Delivers a Superior Work Product

GBI’s innovative approach is also impacting criminal justice professionals who work closely with the bureau. Using Leica Cyclone 3D point cloud processing software and Leica TruView visualization software, agents have the ability to deliver a complete range of work products from simple 2D diagrams to full 3D visualizations that enable decision makers, including prosecutors and jurors, to virtually enter the scene and see the evidence for themselves.

“Quite frankly, once a prosecutor sees that type of product that is coming out of a crime scene investigation, that’s what they insist on in the future … they won’t accept anything else,” Keenan said. “That’s one of the reasons why we’ve continued to expand in our use of the ScanStation.”

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