New CSI Van Helping Ankeny Process Growing Number of Cases

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ANKENY, Iowa -- With its population soaring over 50,000 people and officers responding to more than 7,000 calls each year, the Ankeny Police Department has some new technology to keep up with a growing number of cases.

In April, the Ankeny Police Department purchased a new crime scene van, a 2014 Dodge ProMaster 2500 with a price tag of $55,000 dollars. The van was funded by a mixture of the City of Ankeny’s general fund, asset forfeiture, and donations from a local police alumni association.

The van is equipped with the latest forensic technology, but perhaps its most important upgrade is capacity. It is the first crime scene van in the state with the space for detectives maneuver and work inside.

Similar styles are being used in larger cities like Boston and New York.

“We have everything in the vehicle that we could need at a crime scene from something as simple as a ladder to an alternate light source," said David Billings, an investigator with the Ankeny Police Department.

The Des Moines Police Department handles six times as many cases, but is yet to upgrade to a similar style of van. The department currently has two smaller crime scene vans and a mobile crime unit used for extreme scenarios.

"Any technology they have, if they see great benefit from it, it's likely we'll take a look at it, see what the benefits are, and maybe look into it ourselves,” said Sgt. Jason Halifax, public information officer for the Des Moines Police Department.

Ankeny’s new crime scene was purchased in April and has been in use since May.


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