A cutting-edge crime-solving initiative is making significant progress in the heart of Oklahoma City. Law enforcement agencies are utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to combat serial shooters, by analyzing ballistic ‘fingerprints’ and taking decisive action.
Ballistic Fingerprinting: A Game-Changer
An innovative approach has been developed that focuses on the distinct markings left by firearms on bullet casings. The Oklahoma City Field office for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Oklahoma City Police Department (OKCPD) are leading the way in this initiative. Firearms that are in custody undergo test-firing into a water tank, ensuring the safe collection of casings.
BrassTrax: A Path with Individual Markings
The collected casings are carefully examined using the BrassTrax system. A new system has been developed to accurately identify distinct markings left on firearms, such as breach face and hammer marks, as well as ejector marks that are left behind after a gun has been fired. The data is uploaded to a cloud-based server and compared to other entries for potential matches, much like comparing an individual’s DNA.
NIBIN: Something used for justice
Law enforcement partners regularly hold meetings to facilitate the exchange of information obtained from NIBIN. According to the report from OKCPD, NIBIN played a crucial role in identifying 348 investigative leads in 2023. A breakthrough in the investigation resulted in the successful conviction of Marcus Harris, a suspect connected to a series of nine armed robberies, as confirmed by NIBIN. The individual’s actions were met with the full force of justice, leading to a 20-year federal prison sentence.
The implementation of NIBIN is a crucial component of the comprehensive ‘Shots Fired’ program. Since 2021, a significant initiative has resulted in federal firearms charges being filed against 91 individuals. This has effectively curbed potential future threats.
Oklahoma City’s adoption of NIBIN highlights the significant role of technology in contemporary law enforcement as we progress into the 21st century. The battle against crime appears to have expanded beyond the boundaries of a police station.