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ATF mobile unit makes it easier to solve crimes involving a gun

Updated: Jun. 11, 2021 at 4:48 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On Friday the Bowling Green Police Department and the ATF allowed WBKO to tour their NIBIN mobile unit, also known as the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

The ATF explains NIBIN as the following according to their website, “The NIBIN Program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner. NIBIN is the only interstate automated ballistic imaging network in operation in the United States and is available to most major population centers in the United States.

Prior to the NIBIN Program, firearms examiners performed this process manually which was extremely labor-intensive. To use NIBIN, firearms examiners or technicians enter cartridge casing evidence into the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. These images are correlated against the database. Law enforcement can search against evidence from their jurisdiction, neighboring ones, and others across the country. This program is one investigative tool accessed by law enforcement that allows each of us to share information and cooperation easily making all of us more effective in closing cases.”

“If this particular weapon has been involved in a crime somewhere else, we may have a chance of developing a lead from another crime that it was used in,” said Warren County Chief Deputy, Major Kevin Wiles. “If the weapon has never been used in a crime before, it’s not going to necessarily develop a lead. But there’s always a chance that it might.”

NIBIN turns 3D and 4D imagining of a bullet or shell casing into a digital thumbprint. Law enforcement demonstrated how the technology will work. The weapon is first test-fired, then the shell casing is collected, analyzed and the data is then plugged into the NIBIN database.

“What we do is we test fire the weapon, and then ATF takes the markings from that particular weapon, and they try to match it to their database,” said Wiles.

“This is a tool, a valuable tool to any violent crime strategy. Regardless if we’re in Bowling Green, Louisville, Chicago, or anywhere--crime gun intelligence is definitely a game-changer. When it comes to solving violent crime. NIBIN is a pillar to crime gun intelligence along with firearms tracing, firearms tracing tells us where the source of the firearm came from. NIBIN tells us, hey, here are possible shooters,” said Tommy Esteban with the ATF.

Instead of having area law enforcement travel hours to have evidence processed the NIBIN mobile unit can help solve these crimes faster, preventing leads from turning cold.

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