When a public safety agency invests in a 3D laser scanner, user training is an essential part of the package. But training on how to use the technology isn’t necessarily enough. In forensics, especially if you’re handling casework, the training needs to be practical and applicable to the immediate tasks you need to perform.
Before investing in a laser scanner (or any other digital scene documentation technology), watch for the following red flags related to training:
1. Outsourced training. If the manufacturer doesn’t support its technology with in-house trainers, beware. Independent “recommended” trainers might be highly skilled and well-qualified, but you’ll need to invest more of your time making sure they will be able to meet your needs. A package that includes a dedicated manufacturer-driven training program with full-time trainers will be much more likely to provide consistency and ensure user proficiency.
2. Generalized training. While many professions use laser scanners—surveying, engineering, forensic investigation, to name a few—there is a world of difference in application and approach. Likewise, one-size-fits-all training simply does not do the job. Make sure the training program specializes in public safety applications and the trainers are experienced in the types of applications you regularly encounter in your work in public safety. Additionally, keep in mind that the end result of your work will be judged in the courtroom as you testify at trial as an expert witness. Make sure the trainer has real-world experience as a qualified expert forensics witness.
3. Inexperienced trainers. Who trained the trainer, and where did that training take place? In the public safety world, textbook training alone just doesn’t cut it. The training staff should have real-world experience in scanning for crime scene investigation. When trainees have questions that relate to not only how to set up the scanner but also how to set it up in the middle of a homicide scene, the trainer should be able to answer those questions from their own experience and background.
Training is fundamental to successfully laser scanning crime and crash scenes. Before your agency invests in a laser scanner or any other scene documentation technology, make sure the manufacturer’s training is focused on forensics and the real-world situations you face every day.
For more information about laser scanner training for public safety professionals, browse the resources under Education & Training or contact us.