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Investigations More Efficient with New 3D Laser Scanner

About a month ago, the VPD’s Collision Investigation Unit (CIU) had been called out to investigate three traffic fatalities in one week. While these tragic accidents are usually just that – accidents – each collision receives a thorough police investigation in order to provide answers to victims, their families, insurance and motor vehicle companies, and to rule out any criminal mischief. What was different for the CIU this time though, was they were greatly aided in their efforts thanks to the acquisition of a 3D Laser Scanner.

The 3D scanner is an automated laser survey station with photographic overlay capability that operates at high speed capturing millions of data points per second. It can capture an entire collision scene with measurable points in minutes. It is not impacted by the weather, nor does it pose any risk during operation. This equipment is replacing the previous need to have two officers investigate an accident or a crime scene, often with lane or road closures. What used to take several hours can now be done in just 20 minutes.

Despite the fact that this technology isn’t new, VPD has only started using it this past summer, thanks to the generosity of VPF donors. Other agencies have been using this technology for 15 years, but the VPD couldn’t afford to purchase it due to other priorities so they turned to us. Together with our generous donors we were proud to make this a reality for the VPD’s CIU.

While you might be aware that the VPD’s annual budget for 2023 is $401 million, it may surprise you that only $880,000 of this is allocated to modern equipment like the 3D scanner. That’s not even 1% of the budget and it hasn’t changed in a decade. The equipment budget includes new purchases, repairs, and even big ticket items.

The amount of requests the VPF receives each year from officers and civilian professionals for modernized pieces of policing equipment far exceeds the funds we have available. The costs to acquire efficient, innovative technology increases every year, which is something that criminals never worry about. Big ticket items, like the 3D laser scanner, are virtually impossible to prioritize and fund.

While the VPF does not fund essential policing services, sometimes we are called upon to fund equipment items, like this scanner, that would never be funded otherwise. We have an opportunity, with your support, to ensure they are the best equipped they can be. And better equipment means a safer Vancouver for all.


The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.

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