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TPD gets grant for 3D technology to recreate traffic crash scenes

Posted at 6:57 PM, Dec 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-15 20:57:28-05

After one of the deadliest years on record for road accidents in Tucson, the Tucson Police Department is getting some new tools to help investigate crashes.

"There's a lot of roadway evidence, there's a lot of witness statements, there's a lot of calculations that go into that," said Officer Chris Hawkins of the Tucson Police Department.

Part of the investigation includes recreating the scene by mapping out what happened. Officers measure things like, "where the vehicle went off the road, where the collision first occurred, and each point has to be manually logged so they walk and place the equipment down and take a reading at that point," said Hawkins of the hours officers spend using the current equipment at crash scenes.

These investigations can shut down roads for hours, but now, with a $30,000 grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, investigators are getting a new FARO 3D scanner.

Normally, investigators will have to manually collect data from 400-600 different data points at the scene of the crash, but the new FARO 3D scanner can collect millions of points in a matter of minutes.

Then, the program takes the data and creates a 3D model of the scene investigators can reference back to and use in criminal cases. "It will enable us to have more successful prosecutions in some cases and will enable the roadways to clear up even as quickly as half as much time as they normally do," said Hawkins.

Traffic investigators will also get training in Phoenix as part of another $10,070 grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety to further help understand and prevent dangerous crashes on our roads.