Collision Reconstruction Unit
In 2009 the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office created the “Collision Reconstruction Unit” (CRU). This unit is comprised of highly experienced patrol Deputies who have demonstrated an interest in traffic safety and have become certified as a “Collision Reconstructionist” or “Advanced Collision Investigator”. These Deputies are responsible for investigating serious motor vehicle collisions or motor vehicle collisions that result in a fatality. CRU Deputies are routinely requested to assist other law enforcement agencies through the Eastern Shore of MD, and they also assist the Wicomico Bureau of Investigations with crime scene documentation.
There are several steps a Deputy must successfully complete in order to become a “Collision Reconstructionist”. The first level of training is a 40 hour block of “Basic Crash” instruction which is completed while they attend the Police Academy. Once a Deputy has gained experience after the Academy they can request to attend the second level of training to become an “Advanced Collision Investigator”. Upon completion of the 80 hour “Advanced” course, the Deputy must complete the third level of training, which is another 80 hour course titled, “The Science of Collision Reconstruction”. Upon completion the Deputy is certified as a “Collision Reconstructionist”, but the Deputy is still encouraged to continue their training. Additional classes that most “Reconstructionists” will attend are: Motorcycle Reconstruction, Pedestrian Collision Investigation, Crush Energy Analysis, Commercial Motor Vehicle Collision Reconstruction, Crash Data Retrieval Technician and Analysis, Biomechanics, Special Problems, CAD and Total Station training, and Photography.
Currently the CRU is staffed by three Deputies, all of whom have attended over 400 hours of training in the above classes. When a CRU Deputy responds to a crash scene the investigation begins by obtaining statements, taking photographs, analyzing roadway and vehicle evidence, and measuring the scene with specialized equipment. Once all the necessary data is collected from the scene the CRU Deputy will spend many hours completing a report. In order to ensure that an accurate report in generated, the CRU Deputy must remain impartial and rely on physical evidence to make a determination of who is at fault for the collision. The final report is then presented to the Wicomico County State’s Attorney for review to determine if charges will be filed. Sometimes those charges could be as serious as vehicle manslaughter or homicide by a vehicle.