New evidence-gathering equipment to help Columbiana County
When the Columbiana County Sheriff's office is called to a crime scene, every minute counts.
Once they leave the scene, there's no guarantee precious evidence will be there when they return.
"If you don't have a suspect identified in that first 48 hours, it becomes a lot less solvable," Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin said.
That's something Columbiana County knows all too well, with nearly 20 active cold cases throughout the county dating back to the 60s, but now, detectives have a new tool to help solve crimes.
The new technology is a three-dimensional scanner called "Oscar 360" by the manufacturer L-Tron. The device photographs a 360-view of a scene.
Rather than basing their investigation on the first look, the sheriff's office can refer back and walk through the scene whenever they want. Before this, the county waited for BCI assistance which kills hours.
Now the sheriff's office can record evidence immediately and more accurately.
This help comes as McLaughlin said the county is seeing an uptick in violence, putting more strain on its resources.
"Our guys are overworked, we're understaffed, and our overtime is just through the roof," Columbiana County Chief Deputy Jen Tucker added.
This comes as departments across the nation have faced criticism and Moscow Idaho was not immune during its gruesome murder investigation.
From processing the scene, waiting on DNA results and conducting interviews... Tucker reminds the public, for smaller departments especially, solving crime takes time.
"We're all in that struggle," she said, "We have to hurry up and wait, get our job done, and we have to wait on other people, and if you're not in law enforcement or in this field, you don't understand the wait time."
Time that's still ticking for unsolved murders. McLaughlin said with new equipment, he hopes there's a change in that trajectory.
"I'm just ecstatic that we were able to get this grant," he said, "being able to speed up the process on crime scenes... just astronomical."
The sheriff's office is getting two of the 3D scanners worth $24,000 thanks to a statewide grant. The grant also includes additional evidence training for detectives, too.