YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Information is key in solving crimes and investigating accidents, so the Youngstown Police Department (YPD) bought a new piece of equipment called the Total Station.
It will help two departments with their investigations. The crime lab can use it to map out a scene, render drawings and pinpoint key data. The accident division can use it to quickly measure the distance after a collision, the length of a skid-mark or other data without tying up the scene for very long.
“Let me give you two examples of how this will help out. We’ll start with a crash scene. Say two cars collide at an intersection. Say this car hit a pothole. They can measure distances from when both vehicles started to swerve. That could be key information. How about a crime scene. Two people arguing. One pulls out a gun and shoots the other. The bullets come out. This person dies. They now have a distance to see where those bullets were fired from,” said Youngstown Police Chief Robin Lees.
The equipment will allow the department to do things other agencies had been helping them do.
“We hope that will transfer over into a better courtroom presentation and certainly more professional looking,” Lees said.
The Total Station is the first piece of equipment the YPD has bought with speed camera money.
“We looked at this probably two years ago, and we thought it was a great tool but we simply couldn’t afford it. And with the funds we are going to use from the speed camera enforcement, that’s key in being able to get the newer equipment and update the fleet,” Lees said.
The YPD spent $30,000 on the equipment.
“That’s about the cost of the base new police car. So to be able to go out and pick up a piece of equipment like this is really important to us,” Lees said.
The YPD was heavily criticized when it started using speed cameras, because some thought the cameras were just for the money. But, police say the revenue is helping the department become better equipped.
The department expects a new patrol wagon to be delivered soon, plus it bought a pair of used K9 cars from other agencies. It will also ask council for two new vehicles to update the cruiser fleet.