One of the greatest advantages to using 3D laser scanning is the ability to collect and capture data that isn’t significant at the time but might become important later. A case handled by the York Regional Police Forensic Identification Unit illustrates this point well. A shooting in a café left two people dead and two others critically injured. By the time the case reached court two years later, the café had undergone a total renovation.
A video analyst for the defense testified that the gunman in the video was significantly shorter than the accused based on calculations compared to other features in the café. Fortunately, measurements obtained from the point cloud data provided the evidence needed to refute this testimony and bring the case to justice. Importantly, this case also validated a modern approach to a reverse projection technique that offers significant potential for scene investigation.
In the past, reverse projection involved taking a negative from a still image and physically overlaying it as a transparency on a camera viewfinder to visualize the historic record of evidence in the current scene. Today, the process is much more dynamic and powerful. Using a combination of iNPUT-ACE video analysis software with accurate point clouds from Leica Geosystems laser scanning solutions, and combining this data in Map360 scene mapping software, you not only have easy access to exact measurements but also a compelling demonstrative that captures the attention of the judge and jury in a courtroom by immersing them in the scene.
This technique is invaluable for crash reconstruction and suspect height analysis, as well as perspective and triangulation. It has undergone Daubert testing and has been admissible in a number of courts across the U.S. and Canada and abroad.
“So many crimes are being captured on video. This reverse projection technique is a great resource both for conducting analytical testing and creating demonstrative aids for court. If we can overlay point clouds with video, we can come up with height analysis, speed of vehicles, placement of the accused in the scene. I think this technology is going to do nothing but increase, and there’s huge value to it.”
–Det./Sgt. Brad Joice, York Regional Police
In an on-demand webinar recorded on March 5, 2020, Detective Sergeant Brad Joice, Commander of the Forensic Identification Unit for York Regional Police, walks through the process used to document the café homicide scene and create concise courtroom-ready deliverables. Special guest Andrew Fredericks of iNPUT-ACE provides an overview of the capabilities of reverse projection and the potential to capture key details with the integration of digital documentation and mapping tools. Go here to watch the on-demand webinar.
“It used to be that in order to know ‘exactly what happened,’ you would need to have video of the incident. But even then, it was still only two dimensional. Being able to add a 3D point cloud to a frame of video evidence and add measurability is quite literally one of the most powerful aspects of scene reconstruction that have been added to our toolbox.”
–Ryan Rezzelle, former CSI and forensic specialist, manager of Leica Geosystems’ Public Safety Group
To learn more about solutions that can improve your scene documentation and mapping workflows, please contact us.