Roanoke Police using new technology to digitally scan crime scenes

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -- Imagine being able to take a step into a crime scene while inside a Roanoke Courtroom.

WDBJ7 photo

Now, you won’t have to imagine.

That seemingly far-fetched idea has become reality.

“What I do is I document the scene the way that I find it however it happens to be," said RPD Forensic Investigator Chris Levering. "This will allow me to basically bring a judge and/or a jury into the crime scene and see the scene the same way that I saw it.”

Levering is one of seven forensic investigators trained to use Roanoke Police Department’s brand-new FARO 3D laser scanner.

The FARO captures 44-million data points per scan. By piecing together a dozen or more scans, the technology can digitally re-create any scene in full-color 3D.

“You can bring the actual scene of the crime into the courtroom and share it with the jury at the same time and of course with the defendant and the judge, everybody that’s in the courtroom,” said Roanoke Commonwealth’s Attorney Don Caldwell.

This new tech is fully supported by Caldwell's office as well as by Roanoke Circuit Court Judges.

The digital scans will help supplement traditional evidence collection and crime scene photographs on all homicides and fatal car crashes.

“We will still continue to work crime scenes the way we’ve worked them for the 15 years I’ve been working homicides; this is just one more tool in the tool belt," said Levering.

The FARO has been used on fewer than 20 crime scenes since last April, but now that training is complete, this new technology will become commonplace for Roanoke investigations.

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