Collision Reconstruction

Collision Reconstruction

The Brunswick Police Department established a collision reconstruction unit in 1999. The purpose of the team is to assist Patrol Officers with crashes involving extensive property damage, death, or those that may involve criminal prosecution where culpability or fault must be determined. The unit is comprised of three officers as well as Lieutenant Thomas Garrepy and Sergeant Russ Wrede.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit will also assume responsibility for certain traffic safety assignments when assigned by the Command Staff, and are actively involved with instruction of new Officers at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, as well as the Brunswick Police Department Field Training program.

Officers who are assigned to the reconstruction unit have demonstrated a strong background in crash investigation. Officers are selected based on a specific process, and then attend a total of 240 hours of initial training, broken down into three phases. The scope of the training focuses on many different aspects of crash reconstruction.

The first phase includes discussion of physical evidence, human elements, skid mark analysis, crash scene photography and scale diagramming. The second phase continues with kinetic energy, conservation of momentum, time/distance/motion equations, lamp analysis, tire damage evaluation, and vector sum analysis. The final phase focuses on the derivation and application of common formulas, based on Newton’s Laws of Motion. Topics include the determination of speed using conservation of linear momentum, commercial motor vehicle and motorcycle dynamics, as well as numerous practical applications in controlled vehicle experiments.

Once the Officer has completed the above training, a resume and application is submitted to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy for acceptance into the program. Once accepted, an Officer must complete a minimum of four crash reconstructions within a one-year time frame, under the supervision of an experienced Collision Reconstruction Specialist, and take a certification exam. Once certified by the academy, an Officer must continue to be active in the field, reconstructing at least four crashes a year, and then be recertified with a written test.

Supplementary training includes the investigation of motorcycle, commercial motor vehicle, bicycle/pedestrian, and railroad grade crossing crash investigations. All of our Officers are also familiarized with Forensic Mapping of the crash scenes.

In addition, Officers assigned to the Collision Reconstruction Unit have successfully passed the certification process for the Accreditation Commission for Traffic Accident Reconstruction (A.C.T.A.R). The organization, formed in 1985, establishes minimum standards for Traffic Reconstruction Specialists from around the world, including those in law enforcement, engineers, and those in the private consulting business.

For more information on the Brunswick Police Department’s Collision Reconstruction Unit, please contact
 Lieutenant Thomas Garrepy.