Why Outstanding Environmental Ruggedness is not Optional

When the York Regional Police in Ontario, Canada, received approval to acquire a high-definition 3D laser scanner for its Forensic Identification Unit, Detective Brad Joice, supervisor of the 34-member unit, researched several instruments and manufacturer specifications in preparation for the tender process. He wanted to ensure that the agency’s investment would not only do what they needed but also when and where they needed to do it.

With 10 years in the York Regional Police Collision Reconstruction Unit followed by 15 years in the Forensic Identification Unit, Joice knows the challenges of documenting crime and crash scenes. That’s why, in addition to speed, detail and verifiable accuracy, the tender criteria specified the scanner be rugged enough to work outdoors in Southern Ontario’s wet and cold climate. “Obviously, we can’t pick our weather at crime scenes, so we have got to have the capability of using the equipment under a wide variety of weather conditions,” Joice said. “Leica certainly stood out in that regard.”

The Forensic Identification Unit took delivery of a Leica ScanStation in 2014. In addition to ultrafast speed of up to 1 million points per second and unprecedented survey-grade accuracy at long range, the top-of-the line scanner provides the outstanding environmental capabilities the York Regional Police required.

The ScanStation features an operating temperature range of minus 20 degrees to 50 degrees Celsius (minus 4 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit) and an Ingress Protection rating of 54, which signifies that the unit is protected from water splash from any direction.

“We wanted something that’s going to work in the conditions that we are going to subject it to,” Joice said. “And we wanted to be confident that it’s going to work in those conditions and not have issues when we are outside in the pouring rain or when it’s minus 20 degrees Celsius.”

It wasn’t long before the scanner’s ruggedness proved its value. When Joice and his team of investigators completed their basic-level manufacturer training in September, a Canadian winter was fast approaching. “Out of the 10 scenes we’ve used it at so far, we’ve been fortunate enough to have decent weather most of the time,” Joice said. “But at one scene, it was quite cold—around minus 10 Celsius. Our officers were using the scanner outside and had absolutely no problem with it whatsoever.”

For more information on how to improve your crime and crash scene documentation, please contact us.

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