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Harris County Sheriff’s Office Gets State-Of-The-Art Scanner For High-Profile Investigations

It provides three dimensional renderings of crime scenes.

Texas Ranger Daron Parker (right) did a presentation of how the scanner works at the headquarters for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, near downtown Houston.
Texas Ranger Daron Parker (right) did a presentation of how the scanner works at the headquarters for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, near downtown Houston.

Investigators with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office will soon start using a state-of-the-art scanner that will help them in high-profile investigations.

The device is a scanner that provides three-dimensional renderings of crime scenes.

The scanner, which is worth $170,000 and was acquired through a donation from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, is set up on a tripod and has the capacity to scan and photograph entire crime scenes just as investigators initially find them.

The Texas Department of Public Safety already uses it.

“Everywhere that it can see, it’s going to scan, it’s going to take measurements. So, once it goes through its scanning process, it’ll go through a second process where it actually takes photographs, just photographs, again, everywhere it can see,” explained Texas Ranger Daron Parker during a press conference held at the headquarters for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, near downtown Houston.

The Rangers used this type of scanner last year when they assisted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation of the fatal shooting of deputy Darren Goforth.

“In essence, the scanners provides investigators and jurors to place themselves inside the crime scene with the same vantage point as witness, complainants and suspects,” noted Sheriff Ron Hickman.

Hickman said the scanner will mostly be used in high-profile investigations, like homicides, although it can also make the difference in other situations, such as officer-involved shootings.

Joan Bytheway, an associate professor with the College of Criminal Justice at the Sam Houston State University, underscores these scanners are very useful because they provide an objective depiction of crime scenes.

“If you are taking photographs at a crime scene, you are subjectively looking for evidence,” Bytheway said.

Hickman said his staff will begin the training on how to operate the scanner next month.

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Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz

Digital News Producer

Alvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz is originally from Madrid (Spain). He worked for several years in his home country and gained experience in all platforms of journalism, from wire services to print, as well as broadcast and digital reporting. In 2001, Al came to the United States to pursue a Master’s degree...

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