Brown Specialty Vehicles of Lawrence, Kansas, has built a mobile crime scene laboratory for its local police department. This is the first lab of its kind in the department’s fleet.
“We are proud to deliver to our hometown our newest version of a forensic laboratory,” says Dane Jennison, president, Brown Industries. He and Ron Smith, business development manager for Brown Specialty Vehicles, oversaw the project.
They worked closely with the Lawrence Police Department and Lawrence Fleet Management to create the custom-built mobile unit. The new Forensics Investigations Vehicle makes more equipment accessible and allows more efficiency in logging and processing evidence.
With the mobile unit the Lawrence Police can perform CSI functions in the field that are normally done in a laboratory. The vehicle is equipped with required audio and visual warning systems. A console in the vehicle chassis cab controls the emergency response system equipment. The unit features two additional tripod lights, powered by an on-board diesel generator, to allow responders to find evidence in dim lighting situations.
Brown designers created a new modular body construction to make this vehicle sturdier, safer and more durable than previous models. Set on a Ford F-550 chassis, the 16-foot aluminum modular body carries engine-driven and generator-driven HVAC and electrical systems. It has high-quality, machine-made aluminum cabinets and counter surfaces covered in stainless steel and Formica. It has an NFPA-approved, non-skid diamond tread plate floor with recessed tie-downs and a large storage compartment on the roof.
This laboratory is equipped with workstation for computer access, refrigerator for storing chemicals, a cyanoacrylate fuming hood (superglue chamber) for fingerprint recovery as well as equipment drawers and cabinets.
“We are using this new vehicle to respond to crime scenes and whenever forensics investigation is needed,” says Zach Thomas, detective with the police department. “We think that being able to use the superglue chamber at the scene to lock in fingerprints will really aid in our investigations.”
This specialized vehicle will also be used by trained personnel in the northeast region of Kansas and throughout the state during declared emergencies. Its purchase was made possible through a Department of Homeland Security Grant awarded to the Lawrence Police Department.
“We thank Brown Specialty Vehicles for their excellent work and attention to details,” says Steve Stewart, fleet manager of Lawrence Public Works.
To contact Brown, phone 800-255-6827, ext. 118, or e-mail [email protected].