Laser Mapping Increasingly Popular

Lasers aren't just for catching speeders anymore. More and more law enforcement officers are showing up on the scene of accidents and crimes with laser in hand.

Both Leon County deputies and Tallahassee police say a new laser mapping system is helping them to recreate scenes for families and jurors.

Monday a tragic accident claims the life of a Tallahassee woman. On scene was a laser system that helps deputies document what happened, the exact location of the vehicles, the length of the skid marks and much more down to the millimeter.

DEP Shannon Black of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "We used to take the scene measurements using tape measures and roller wheels, that kind of thing, but it was not really an exact science. So by using the laser, we're able to get exact scale representations of the crash down to a thousandth of an inch."
The points recorded on scene can then be loaded into a computer and rendered in three dimensions. It can help grieving family members who want to understand what happened.

"This is actually the shooting of SGT Dale Green. This was the crime scene area. "

Or in the event of a crime, laser mapping can give jurors a clearer view of the scene without ever leaving the courtroom.

INV Joe Giangrosso of the Tallahassee Police Department says, "We can put it up on the screen, we can actually take 3-D images and put them into a power point presentation. We can show somewhat of an animation type thing with the 3-D version. It can be blown up to an entire wall size picture if you need it."

Investigators say laser mapping will never replace photographs and evidence markers, but it can put those in better perspective.

Right now, the laser mapping systems are used primarily for traffic crashes, but more and more they are being used at the scene of shootings and murders.