Ballistics Database Offers New Weapon in Solving Crime
As part of a pilot program, police in Norfolk, VA, have begun submitting ballistics evidence from weapons that were not obtained at crime scenes–including those found by residents or seized during other types of investigations–to a private company.
The pilot program, which involves Montreal-based Forensic Technology, is meant to speed up the process of entering weapons into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), the national law enforcement ballistics database run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
The weapons collected by the Norfolk Police Department are test-fired by officers. Ejected cartridge casings are collected and sent to a Forensic Technology facility in Florida, where images are created and compared with those on file, said Forensic Technology’s Pete Gagliardi. Any potential matches must be confirmed by technicians at the state laboratory in Virginia.
Forensic Technology has enjoyed some success in helping law enforcement agencies close cases, according to the company’s Web site. The site noted that an arrest for illegal possession of a handgun in 2004 led to a match that tied the weapon to a drive-by shooting that killed a man in Richmond, VA.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Virginian-Pilot (02/27/07); Roy, Matthew.