Va. State Police get new crime-fighting gadget

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia State Police say a new gadget is helping them keep up with the fictional investigative tools seen on television.

State Police recently bought a laser scanner that allows investigators to make high-definition, 360-degree scans of crime scenes that are accurate to within a quarter of an inch.

It uses a high-speed laser and a built-in digital camera to capture a scene, taking 3 million measurements per minute. It produces a 3D model that is uploaded, and investigators can take measurements, isolate items for in-depth review or put in the height of the witness or suspect to see exactly what they saw.

State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty says the scanner "stops time," by allowing investigators and prosecutors to examine crime scenes days, weeks or even years after the crime.