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Laser puts Deputies' on the Cutting Edge
(April 22, 2004)

Tools of the Trade

Passing motorists likely thought they were witnessing a criminal investigation as they drove by the area of State Road 44 and Centerline Road in Franklin Township, but that was not the case. The Johnson County Sheriff's Office Crash Investigation Team was receiving training from Indiana State Police Trooper Ty Utterback in the use of a laser. The laser unit allows Crash Investigator's to take quick and precise measurements using a triangulation method of positioning. When a serious personal-injury crash or a crash involving a fatal injury occurs, it is necessary for a Crash Investigator to take precise measurements of all parts of the crash scene, including spilled fluids, final rest of the vehicle(s), gouge marks, and tire marks. Traditionally, this would involve using two measuring tapes and three deputy's using a coordinate method system. This method burden's manpower, is difficult on uneven terrain or in bad weather, and requires that a roadway be shut down for many hours. This method is a great inconvenience to the motoring public. Using laser technology, the Johnson County Sheriff's Office Crash Investigation Team will be able to take the same precise measurements with only one Deputy operating the laser, in a fraction of the time it took using the coordinate method system. Furthermore, once the data is collected from the laser, the information is plugged into a laptop computer and a scale diagram is quickly made of the crash scene. In the past, the Crash Investigator would have to sketch out a scale diagram of the scene on drawing paper which took the Deputy out of service for hours.