OSCR360 partners with Carson City Sheriff’s Office to document everything from kidnapping cases to homicides and even their local jail.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and Criminalist Jason Olson, who holds a civilian role at the department. Although the city does hold bragging rights as Nevada’s state capital, Carson City is a rather small community of about 60,000 residents. The Sheriff’s Office consists of about 100 sworn officers and 50 civilian roles and the Detective Unit maintains a case load of approximately 80 to 100 open investigations at any given time.
IAI Conference sets the stage, introducing OSCR360
Criminalist Olson was at an IAI (International Association for Identification) Conference, in search of a tool that would allow for a demonstrative view of crime scenes, when he was introduced to OSCR360. Historically, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office relied on crime scene diagramming, hand-sketches, and DSLR photography. When he found OSCR360, he was sold. With city funding, the agency was able to purchase the system.
“It would be easy to share with our DA’s office and a jury to certainly immerse them into a scene, just by taking a couple photos as we’re there (at a crime scene)… I just think that the 360-degree spherical capabilities with it provide a much easier way to navigate through a scene than a bunch of photographs.”
In the years since, Olson has found OSCR360 easy to use, with little to no training required for investigators. It is also much quicker and easier to use than the agency’s 3D scanners. He has used OSCR for all sorts of criminal cases, but perhaps the most notable case occurred during the throes of the Covid-19 pandemic.
A kidnapping investigation in 360
In September 2020, a young girl was waiting outside of her home for the school bus to deliver her lunch. The elementary-aged youngster was kidnapped by a man driving by who lured her to his vehicle with a dollar bill. Thankfully, the girl was eventually returned to safety and was able to share her story with the authorities. As Criminalist Olson pursued the case, the girl proved to be an excellent witness.
“She was able to exactly describe where this guy took her in the car. I used OSCR from start to finish, her route that the guy had taken her on. I was able to embed the surveillance video. It gave me a Google Street View version [of events], and I was able to incorporate our video footage. It created a pretty awesome demonstrative exhibit.”
When the Sheriff’s Office eventually located the kidnapper’s vehicle, once again the girl’s verbal account aligned precisely with what Olson discovered during his investigation.
“This girl’s story was that she was able to identify certain items on the inside of the car. So I used OSCR to do interior photos of the car. So I just did one on the tripod on the center console, and one in the backseat. Kind of point-of-view from the girl as she’s bopping around in the back of this car that she could see particular items on the front floorboards of his car. And it was very consistent with what her story was.”
Between the witness’ testimony, OSCR photographs, and sufficient evidence, the Carson City District Attorney’s Office had a solid case. The case eventually concluded with the kidnapper entering a plea of guilty to kidnapping in the first degree, a felony.
In addition to the notable kidnapping, Criminalist Olson and his colleagues have used OSCR countless times, from non-investigative purposes such as capturing 360-degree images inside their local jail to the documentation of crime scenes that warrant investigation by a CCSO Criminalist.
“We had a stabbing…There was blood inside this small apartment, everywhere, to include this hallway. I had a hard time with even my DSLR camera getting far back enough to document the blood spatter patterns. So OSCR was actually very useful, I just put it into the hallway… I use it a lot.”
We anticipate that the Carson City Sheriff’s Office will continue to use OSCR360 in the majority of their investigations. Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Criminalist Olson, and for your dedication to the safety of the Carson City community!