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Highway Patrol Troopers Get a New Device

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Oklahoma State troopers have a new tool to help them determine the cause of accidents. It's a measuring device called Lasertek. Troopers put it to use examining a police chase that ended in a fatal crash a week ago. Troopers produced the first sketches of the scene within hours they will likely become the first use of the lasertek information in an Oklahoma court. "This device helps us measure those distances and accurately articulate what happened in a court of law," says Oklahoma Highway Patrol Lt. Todd Blish. He says that same crime scene would have taken anywhere from a week to 10 days to sit down and draw a diagram worthy of use in the prosecution of the case. Troopers aim the Lasertek at important points. The device measures distance within thousandths of an inch and stores the information. It cuts the time troopers need to measure a scene so the wreckage can be cleared more quickly. But it saves the most time back at the office. "And with those points, an actual graphical drawing is overlaid over those points and it gives you a scale drawing. This is sometimes done in a matter of hours or less after an accident scene," says Blish. Car wrecks are investigated from the end to the beginning, so the final position of the vehicles is the most important evidence. That's why measuring is so important and can make the difference between a solid and a weak case in court. The lasertek device costs $6,000. The state has 3 of them.
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