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|NASHUA POLICE DEPARTMENT ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION UNIT
|The Nashua Police Department Accident Reconstruction Unit was established in the year 2000. The Unit consists of a supervisor and five other officers. The Unitís prime function is to investigate traffic accidents that result in death or serious bodily injury to drivers, passengers, pedestrians or bicyclists. The Accident Reconstruction Unit may also be used to investigate accidents involving a tremendous amount of property damage.
In the past years these types of accidents were generally investigated by a single officer who possessed some level of advanced accident investigation training and who also had drafting experience. This officer generally investigated the accident from start to finish. He did the at scene measurements, evidence collecting, photography, statement taking from drivers and witnesses, as well as doing the finished report to include a scale diagram. He then was responsible for preparing a case for either criminal or civil court.
As is the case in other aspects of police work, accident reconstruction has evolved into specialty work. No longer is a single officer responsible for investigating a serious accident by himself. When a serious accident occurs, the Accident Reconstruction Unit is activated. Ideally, the team will consist of a supervisor who is in charge of the scene and is responsible for the proper handling of the scene. Two officers are responsible for measurement taking at the scene. They initially walk the scene deciding what has to be photographed, what evidence is to be documented and seized and what road features need to be documented. One of these two officers is the lead investigator. A third officer is the photographer. He will later assist in note-taking when measurements are being taken. Depending on the circumstances involved, the evidence recovery team may be activated and will be responsible for the recovery of evidence. Patrol officers will be responsible for securing the scene and traffic control.
Presently, all members of the Accident Reconstruction Unit have attended At Scene Accident Investigation, Advanced Accident Investigation, and Accident Reconstruction schools. Some unit members have also received specialty training in the area of CAD, motorcycle crash investigation and vehicle/pedestrian crash investigation.
During the year 2000, the Nashua Police Department purchased several new pieces of equipment through grant funding to be used in traffic accident investigation. A forensic mapping system, also known as a Total Station was purchased. This piece of equipment is used to measure and document roadway evidence and roadway features. This piece of equipment can also be used to produce a scale drawing, and it can do mathematical equations to determine speed, speedloss, acceleration, etc. A Vericom 2000 was also purchased. This piece of equipment is used to calculate the drag factor of a roadway along with other road factors.
The Nashua Police Department is continuing to make progress in the field of accident investigation by providing up-to-date training for itís officers and by providing state of the art equipment.