"I cannot overstress that standard ALSs are harmful to DNA deposits/stains in the UV spectrum and can be highly destructive to DNA," he adds. "The laser is specific to the green side of the spectrum and less harmful, offering investigators more latitude in a scene. As well, new laser technology does not generate the heat at the optic end of the process. This also is less harmful to DNA as well as to fingerprints."
Law enforcement agencies have been very open to this technology, not only for the improved evidence detection, but also because of reduced risk to evidence and personnel, says Kauf. UV lights require investigators to spray, sometimes very widespread areas, and this can harm DNA and is not always healthy for people, he explains. Lasers do not require spraying, saving material, time and money.
"The biggest obstacle is funding and getting the funds for this new technology," he says. "Most agencies work on very tight budgets."
But, asks Kauf, who can afford to overlook more evidence? Or jeopardize a case?
"You want to apply the latest technology to find evidence, and the latest technology is laser technology," he says. "If you go before a judge and the judge asks, 'Did you use the latest technology?' and you say, 'No,' you have already weakened your case."
Pamela Mills-Senn is a freelance writer based in Long Beach, California. She specializes in writing about public safety issues.