At a crime scene, the first rule of thumb is to document the scene on arrival prior to evidence collection or documentation. This step is called the preliminary survey, and agencies capture videos, photos or both to try to show how the crime scene looked when they first arrived. Increasingly, agencies also use 3D laser scanners for their ability to capture a 360-degree view with all line of sight positions frozen in time. There’s no user-selected objectivity; it simply captures everything. But what’s the best way to present that data?
Once the final walk through of the scene is completed, we have hundreds of photos and evidence items, maybe audio of the 911 call, maybe video captures from security cams, and witness statements all to be organized. We then sometimes get a phone call that the chief of police wants a presentation within 24 hours of gathering this mountain of digital evidence.
Making the Crime Scene Presentation More Compelling
Traditional tools such as PowerPoint force us to create a sequential presentation based on our best guess of how to walk someone through the information. The result is a linear one-dimensional argument, which does not lend itself to questions or dialogue.
3D visualization tools such as Leica TruView provide a more compelling alternative. By using a three dimensional 360-degree display with notations, measurement ability, images, and video or audio links, you can easily follow any direction that the questions or thought process takes you. It allows for a give and take between the speaker and the audience, or those simply viewing the data in this format. A free viewing software, Leica TruView facilitates the sharing of scene data between investigators, prosecutors and other experts involved in the case.
Leica TruView lets us use the scan as a canvas to place the evidence photos, any audio and video, and even witness text directly where they were in the scene. If our chief asks questions, we can follow that line of questioning or reasoning by rotating the scene to a different location. We can color code or use symbols to show what has been sent to or returned from the lab. Even better, we can leave this final product on a memory stick for the chief, detectives or lawyers or share it in real time through the cloud.
It’s a powerful way to communicate what really happened at the crime scene.
For additional tips on how to improve your evidence presentations, please contact us.