CPD technology helps Dekalb murder case | Times Georgian


The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to assist in solving crimes involving firearms.

That technology is being utilized right here in Carrollton.

Recently, officers with the Carrollton Police Department helped Dekalb County locate the firearm and a lead in a current homicide investigation.

Back in October, Officer Zack Hicks with the Carrollton Police Department performed a traffic stop on a vehicle for an equipment violation.

During the stop, Hicks recognized the odor of marijuana coming from the driver and immediately began an investigation with the assistance of Officer Kane Moore of CPD.

During the investigation, the driver fled on foot. When apprehended after a foot chase, it was discovered the suspect had an amount of marijuana in his possession as well as a firearm.

Further investigation revealed the suspect was a convicted felon, legally prohibited from possessing a firearm.

After the arrest of the suspect and seizure of the firearm, further testing revealed the firearm seized was used in a murder in Dekalb County which occurred 16 days prior to the traffic stop.

The information gathered from this encounter ultimately resulted in an arrest for that murder.

“We are proud of Officers Hicks and Moore for being proactive and following through when faced with what might initially appear to be ‘minor’ infractions. The murder arrest in Dekalb was the result of using training, experience, instincts, and solid police work,” Carrollton Police Department said via their Facebook page.

The officers involved in the arrest of the suspect were honored at Carrollton Rotary Club on Tuesday.

NIBIN was established by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 1997. The purpose was to provide local, state and federal law enforcement partners with an automated ballistic imaging network.

Sergeant Cory Payne of CPD gave a comparison of NIBIN to the automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) and combined DNA index system (CODIS) to explain how NIBIN is a database similar to these, but contains ballistic evidence instead of fingerprints and DNA.

“This technology is vital to any violent crime reduction strategy because it enables investigators to match ballistics evidence with other cases across the nation. This process also helps reveal previously hidden connections between violent crimes in different states and jurisdictions,” ATF’s NIBIN fact sheet said.

According to Payne, since January 2019 the department has submitted 489 cases into the NIBIN and of those, 16% resulted in a lead.

“Having the ability to submit casings like fingerprints or DNA, it’s another tool to create leads and assist the investigator with prosecution of the crime,” Payne said.

According to a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) article published on its website in 2013, NIBIN is a national database of digital images of spent bullets and cartridge cases that were found at crime scenes or test-fired from confiscated weapons. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) manages the system and provides the equipment to crime labs around the country.

NIJ further states that a firearms examiner uses ballistic imaging to convert the spent rounds into two- or three-dimensional digital images that are uploaded into NIBIN. NIBIN can be searched for possible matches — that is, other rounds that have similar tool marks and thus may have been fired from the same gun. After a possible match, or “hit” is identified, the crime lab secures the actual spent round(s) and compares them under a microscope to confirm the hit. Then, the lab sends information on the hit (a hit report) to investigators.

A NIBIN hit report has many potential tactical and strategic uses for law enforcement, according to the NIJ. Law enforcement investigators can use it to link crimes, which can help to identify suspects. They can also use it to understand patterns of gun crime, such as gun sharing and trafficking.


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