York Co. forensic lab, real life crime scene investigations

We have all seen the crime shows that follow detectives as they investigate crime scenes using the latest forensic tools.

“If you think your suspect entered through the front door and perhaps entered through the kitchen you can actually take that and do a walk through. It would follow the path where the person walked.” Detective Sergeant Scott James describes a new 3D scanner and camera used by the York County Forensic Team for indoor crime scenes, “this portion of the box right here will actually send a laser out to bounce off the wall, it has to have something to bounce off of so we can’t use it for outdoor scenes. It will go around and let you take measurements of all of the walls.”

York County has their own forensic team with dozens of highly trained members. They use a state of the art lab, training, tools, and even a crime scene van to help police across the county solve crimes.

“A big hurdle we have when these cases eventually get to court, of the jurors sitting on the panel, 10 of them probably watch CSI or the crime scene shows religiously, so they expect to see that kind of stuff,” said Detective Sergeant Scott James, who coordinates the York County Forensic Team.

“The tools that they have here are not generally available to, and in many cases, not even known by the department that makes the request,” said York County District Attorney Tom Kearney. His department helps find funding for the forensic program and utilizes their evidence to prosecute cases. “We want to make sure the integrity of a crime scene is maintained. That the evidence we get is good evidence, so we can prosecute those who justly deserve prosecution,” said Kearney.

Local police departments call on the forensic team at all hours, for a range of crimes. “It could be two or three in the morning, 25 degrees outside and the last thing you want to do is go outside and process a crime scene, but the guys and girls on the forensic team are phenomenal,” said James. “We get called out to sexual assaults, homicides, we’ve been called out to regular assaults, just shootings, where we might need to use trajectories, robberies.”

On Monday York County District Attorney Tom Kearney will use evidence collected by the forensic team during the trial of Spencer L. Newcomer IV. Newcomer is accused of shooting his neighbor to death, David Wintermyer, after an ongoing neighborly dispute.

“The forensic unit was down at the scene and took some photographs and took some measurements. It’ll be helpful and that will be demonstrated on Monday,” said Kearney.

Click on the photos below:

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