Since the first automobile fatality in Iowa on September 29, 1905, state officials have recognized the need to investigate traffic-related collisions. Starting with the very first Iowa State Patrol Academy in 1935, vehicle collision investigation has been incorporated in the training curriculum. In 1983, this endeavor was complemented by the training of all officers in Advanced Collision Investigation, which all officers who attend the Department of Public Safety Basic Academy are required to learn. 

In 1984, the Iowa State Patrol wanted to advance their collision investigation skill level and trained 31 troopers to be Technical Accident Investigators (TI). This advanced training improved the technical skills of these officers to assist others with investigations into more serious motor vehicle collisions. This program met with statewide success.

The Technical Collision Investigation Program consists of officers who volunteer to receive training to become TIs.  These officers have received additional training covering areas such as:  

  • Evidence recognition & collection
  •  Field sketches
  •  Measuring & scale diagramming
  •  Vehicle, light bulb, & speedometer examinations.

TIs are trained to use calculations to make speed determinations from a myriad of evidence, including skid marks, scuff marks, airborne vehicles or objects, and by using linear or circular momentum equations. The Iowa State Patrol also has Collision Reconstructionist Specialists. These officers have received advanced training in collision investigation by attending additional schooling.

In 2007, TIs were trained in the use of total station measuring devices and were issued computerized drawing programs for their laptop computers. In 2012, TIs were issued digital cameras which instantly allowed review of the collected evidence. The TI program has five VC2000 brake testing computers that accurately calculate the drag factor for a specific roadway and/or vehicle at the time of a crash. TIs have access to the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval system, which reads airbag control modules in the majority of vehicles. The imaged data may have collected information at the time of the collision.

In 2020, eight troopers were reassigned as full-time collision Reconstructionists. Two full-time Reconstructionists were assigned to each area. These Reconstructionists received additional training in forensic scene mapping through the use of drones, launching the Iowa State Patrol's UAS program. This program has since expanded to encompass TIs at the district level, with 28 drones in operation across the state today. The TI Program also expanded forensic scene mapping capabilities through the addition of GNS Systems.

The scene mapping expertise members of the TI Program have is used to assist with documentation of scenes for the Division of Criminal Investigation, State Fire Marshal, and other agencies. The program is also tasked with providing collision investigation training at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy and Department of Public Safety Academy, along with assisting STEM programs across the state.

Annually, the officers investigate more than 130 cases that result in nearly 500 requests for copies of the reports. With the computerization of today’s world, advancement in roadway evidence collection has improved greatly. With these advancements in technology, the case preparation is more detailed with an enormous amount of information to aid in deciphering collisions.