NYPD's Crime Scene Unit using high-tech to solve mysteries

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Josh Einiger got an inside look at the NYPD's Crime Scene Unit.

It's just before midnight at a housing project off the FDR Drive. Detectives Elizabeth Cutrone and Jexter Bonus have a lot of ground to cover.

"There was a 15 year-old who was hit with a b-b in his cheek," Lt. Rhonny King of the NYPD Crime Scene Unit said. "We were requested to come out to determine where the bb may have come from."

Investigators also don't even know where the victim was standing, but the NYPD crime scene unit has a special weapon.

"It's gonna spin 360 degrees and they're gonna take pictures," King explained.

A high-tech camera will map every inch of the crime scene to answer questions detectives haven't even thought to ask.

"And if I had a question of how far was this fence to that fence, I could draw a line and know okay it's exactly 16.78 feet," King said.

It's up to the crime scene unit to pick up on strands of evidence they don't even know exist when they arrive on a scene like this one. They have to document everything. With this new high-tech camera system, it's almost impossible to miss anything.

"Let's say we had a crime that happened here and we had a witness in the window here," Matthew Steiner said.

Analysts can then manipulate the image to view a scene from that witness's perspective or any other angle.

"It's the tip of the spear. It's where the investigation begins," Chief Emmanuel Katranakis of the NYPD Forensic Investigations Division said.

For nearly three decades, Katranakis has worked his way up to commanding officer of the Forensic Investigations Division.

"We're looking for trace evidence: blood, semen," Marvin Miller said.

Where he arranged for some of his detectives to show us the tricks of their trade, from old school to cutting edge. All are unified by one sobering goal.

"That person is not alive to tell his story," Jerry St Louis explained.

Justice for their victim.

"So these photographs and the other things that happen at a crime scene, it's gonna tell that story for you," Shimicka Meadows said.

"Our goal is to prosecute the guilty and exonerate the innocent," Matthew Steiner said.

"You want to make sure you get the guy who did this," Carlos Pantoja said.

They spend an average of 8-10 hours, sometimes days at a time, on any given crime scene. And what they see is the stuff of nightmares.

"Most of these scenes we go to, some of them are very horrific," Robin Stensck said.

"We see it 7 days a week. It can be taxing sometime," Marvin Miller added.

But it's a conviction they crave as they work in the dark to search for clues and speak for the dead.

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technologycrimenypdNew York City
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