Baltimore County police show off latest crime fighting technology

TOWSON, Md. - A 360-degree crime scene room scanner, a device that can match bullet casings like fingerprints and a high definition impression analyzer may sound like crime-fighting tools found in popular science fiction, but in reality, are the instruments helping Baltimore County police solve crimes today.

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Baltimore County police Wednesday showcased three high-tech crime-fighting tools as part of the National Forensics Science Week.

The department's new tools aid investigators by processing evidence faster and with greater accuracy.
The PanoScan panoramic camera for example, takes a 360-degree view of a crime scene.

"They can revisit that crime scene. They can take this and open it at their computer in their office and revisit, re-look at the evidence and it helps them answer questions they might have," Jason Birchfield, of the department's crime lab said.

The Brasstrax system, another crime fighting tool showcased Wednesday, can produce a 3D image of a fired shell casing and match it to similar spent shell cases in a national database. Think of it like a fingerprint analyzer for bullets.

"So there are hundreds of thousands of images in the database. It would be virtually impossible for human beings to remember if they had a match or to physically go through hard copies of pictures to identify a match," Cresha Cason, a specialist in forensic technology said.

Police could then use the GL Scan, also on display Wednesday, which raises images of fingerprints, shoe and tire impressions, for a more detailed look.

Some of the devices on display were used in police investigations a recently as Tuesday for the murder in Parkville and the police-involved shooting in Woodlawn, Police Chief Jim Johnson said.

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