New Crime Scene Camera


Thursday, November 16th 2006, 3:15 pm
By: News On 6


CSI technology comes to Tulsa.

The police department just bought a new crime scene camera that looks just like the gee-whiz technology you see on today's popular crime shows.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains how it works.

Police and prosecutors tell us they're all feeling the CSI effect, people on juries expect to be wowed. They want science and technology, just like they see on television. Tulsa now has some of that, and is one of the first departments in the nation to do so.

"It gives a juror, a DA, anybody, a better idea what it's actually like to be there," said Richard Mulenberg with TPD.

The camera was rolling when a man shot a Tulsa police officer in the chest during a traffic stop. The officer survived thanks to his vest, and a jury will now be able to have a 360-degree view of the entire scene. They'll even be able to click on a piece of evidence, like a shell casing in the street, and see it up close.

"It lets you see exactly what shell casing we're talking about, what was found on it. In today's society, people watch a lot of crime scene shows and this is an opportunity to give them that technology that almost no one else in the country has," Cpl. Gene Watkins said.

Jurors will no longer have to piece together photographs or view a videotape and wonder if there was something the camera operator didn't show.

This camera takes one big panoramic view and officers use a stitching program on a computer to put it all together. You not only can see all around, but, up, and overhead as well.

"You have some people who think we're trying to hide something, keep something out of there. Show us everything. This time, you can see every little thing we found," Cpl. Watkins said.

The camera will only be used for homicide scenes and officer involved shootings, the two most detailed and important scenes detectives work.

TPD are thrilled to be on the cutting edge and say more and more, citizens demand it.

This technology hasn't been approved for the courtroom yet, but, once it is, it gives jurors more control over the evidence, they could actually take a laptop into the jury room and click on pieces of evidence and see them up close.

The camera costs $52,000 and was paid for with grant money. It's essentially the crime scene version of what you see on some real estate websites.