Like the other specialty units at this agency, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office recognized a need in specialized, in depth traffic crash investigations. Until recently, the Sheriff’s Office had to rely primarily on outside agencies for assistance in this field and often response times were increased due to specialists being dispatched from areas throughout the state. In consideration of time, taxpayer dollars, enhanced collaborative efforts as well as inconvenience to victims and their families, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office sent a deputy to school to become a Certified Crash Reconstructionist. Through grant funding and support of the Kennebec County Commissioners, the program also obtained the computerized equipment and a dual-purpose vehicle for the position to utilize, both for patrol and crash response.
The equipment obtained for this assignment allows for the Reconstructionist to “map”, or accurately measure to scale, any given crash scene. This process is similar to how a land survey is conducted. The deputy is able to identify evidence related to the crash and the position of those articles in their exact locations. All of these points of interest are then electronically recorded in a portable data collector. These measurements are then downloaded to a mobile data terminal where the Reconstructionist can then digitally produce a scale diagram of the scene that is in turn stored electronically and can be printed for any additional legal actions to include civil or criminal proceedings.
In 2010, the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office responded to 651 traffic crashes throughout the county. Of these crashes, several complete crash reconstructions were required. These detailed and thorough reconstructions and mappings can each take days or weeks to bring to conclusion.
Along with the aforementioned obligations, the crash Reconstructionist is also responsible for forensic mapping during various criminal investigations. With the equipment used in the crash reconstructions, the deputy has the ability to produce the same scale diagrams as the deputy does with crash scenes to include creating the map of the site. These scenarios include a scale layout of a murder/suicide that occurred in Winslow and spanned over a city block. Our Reconstructionist mapped the scene for the detectives so that the evidence was properly and accurately documented and maintained.