Since the first automobile fatality in Iowa on September 29, 1905, state officials have recognized the need to investigate traffic-related collisions. Starting with the very first Iowa State Patrol Academy in 1935, vehicle collision investigation has been incorporated into the training curriculum. In 1983, this endeavor was complimented by the training of all officers in Advanced Collision Investigation. Currently, officers that attend the Department of Public Safety Basic Academy are trained in Advanced Collision Investigation.
The Technical Collision Investigation Program consists of officers who volunteer to receive training to become Technical Collision Investigators. The State Patrol currently has a total of forty-eight investigators in the field. These forty-eight officers have received an additional eighty hours of training covering such areas as evidence recognition and collection, field sketches, measuring, scale diagramming, vehicle, light bulb and speedometer examinations. The investigators are also training in utilizing calculations to make speed determinations from a myriad of evidence including skid marks, scuff marks, airborne vehicles or objects and by using linear or circular momentum equations. The State Patrol also has eight Collision Reconstructionists Specialists. These officers have received further training in collision investigation by attending an additional eighty hours of schooling.
All Collision Investigators for the State Patrol are available to conduct in-depth investigations of collisions involving fatalities and to provide technical assistance at the scene of other serious collisions. The State Patrol's collision investigators provide assistance to other law enforcement agencies when requested.
Annually the forty-eight field officers investigate more than 300 cases that result in nearly 500 requests for copies of the reports. A full-time staff of three personnel assigned to the Technical Collision Investigation Office compliments the field officers. The Technical Investigation Program has taken great strides in keeping up with technology. All of the technical investigators have 35mm cameras, programmable calculators and laptop computers. The Technical Investigation Office uses a computer drawing system to complete color scale drawings for courtroom presentation. The T.I. program also has five VC2000 brake testing computers that accurately calculate the drag factor for a specific roadway and/or vehicle.
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