3D Scanner Lets Sheriff’s Office Take Crime Scene Back to Lab

6 June 2015 – Fort Collins, CO — New technology allows the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office to virtually take a crime scene back to the lab for further evaluation.

Brian Wangler, who works in the Northern Colorado Crime Lab as a Sheriff’s Office employee, was honored Thursday with an innovation award from the Larimer County commissioners for bringing the three-dimensional laser scanner to the county.

His project was one of three grand-prize winners to receive a grant from the county for innovative ideas. Also honored were the Treasurer’s Office and the county’s software application services for a joint project to build custom software and the Natural Resources Department for an online employee reference and orientation system.

This is the fourth year the county has offered grants to employees or departments for innovative ideas that are effective and original and that positively impact the county.

“This is now getting bigger than Larimer County,” said Commissioner Lew Gaiter. “We have people looking to emulate it.”

The Faro scanner is a laser scanner that allows Wangler to take a three-dimensional scan of any room or crime scene, allowing that area to be processed more quickly, replacing pen-and-paper measurements with technology and preserving an exact image of a scene for analysis in the lab or display in court.

Experts can “return to the scene” again and again without ever leaving the lab once the scan has been taken.

One area that benefits from this technology, according to Wangler, is in determining bullet trajectory. With the scan, it is simpler and more accurate, according to a video in which he explains how the Faro scanner works.

As another example, Wangler showed how he was able to pair a scan of damage to the front of a pickup to a scan of damage to a metal gate.

For this innovation, Wangler received a $500 award. The teams for the Treasurer’s Office Software and the Natural Resources project each received $2,250 awards.

Pamela Johnson: 970-669-5050, ext. 526, johnsonp@reporter-herald.com,www.twitter.com/RHPamelaJ.