GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KLKN) — A car crash can take just seconds, but the aftermath can last for hours. When Nebraska State Patrol is called out to a scene, a time-consuming job they always need to do is to map the area.
“When I started, 20-some years ago, it was literally a tape measure and a piece of paper”, remembers NSP Lieutenant Brent Bockstadter.
Those days are long gone, though, replaced with drones, scanners, and GPS systems. Not only is it faster and more detailed than the old way, but it’s quite a bit easier to deal with.
“We’re really running crash scenes and collecting data with one person”, explains Trooper Eric Kloster. “I can take the full station by myself and grab all the data that I need. It frees up another individual to grab photographs or fly the UAVs.”
The data they collect is used to reconstruct the crash for NSP’s investigation, or to use as evidence if a particular incident goes before a judge and jury. The speed with which they’re able to work, though, is a huge game-changer. In fact, a job that would once take up to three hours now takes around 40 minutes.
“The faster and safer we can document and clear those crash scenes, the better it is for everybody”, says Lt. Bockstadter. “For the officers, deputies, troopers standing on the road, to the motoring public who’s having to slam on their brakes because traffic is bottlenecking in a crash.”
Of course, this is a lot of tech to handle, which is why law enforcement officers from all across the state are learning everything about the equipment.
Trooper Madison Reynoldson is one of those studying the gear, and she says, “The technology that they have makes it a lot easier than going out with a tape measure and pencil and paper like they were saying, and going out and measuring it. It’s awesome. I’ve never experienced anything like what these machines can do.”
Among the many abilities of this high-tech gear, making the aftermath of crashes a bit safer for everybody.