Davenport Police acquire NIBIN system, helps Quad Cities crack down on gun crime

Published: Dec. 13, 2018 at 7:01 PM CST
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Major Jeff Bladel says the Davenport Police Department, along with other local law enforcement agencies, want to improve their processing of evidence for gun crime investigations.

“In 2017 it's safe to say that we had a pretty violent year with gun crimes," says Bladel.

Today Davenport police announced they will receive ballistic imaging equipment run by the federal ATF- it’s called "NIBIN”.

"They operate an analysis system that allows us to compare shell casings, weapons, ballistics,” says Bladel. He explains that each time a gun is fired it leaves a unique marking on the shell casing it ejects- much like a fingerprint.

When casings are recovered at a crime scene, the NIBIN technology will create a 3D image of the casing that identifies the unique marks on each one.

"What happens is these images are downloaded and shared through NIBIN’s national database. And you're able to get investigative leads from those," says Captain Brent Brigs of DPD.

The NIBIN program then identifies possible matches in casings previously recovered at crime scenes across the United States. If a match is found it means the same gun was used--which can help identify suspects or gun patterns.

More than 170 law enforcement agencies across the country input gun-crime data into the NIBIN database. It’s the only network that allows law enforcement across the country to cooperate in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms.

"The Des Moines Police Department implemented a NIBIN process into their system,” says Bladel. “Currently when we have an investigation to where we need forensic evidence or analysis of weapons or shell casings, we have a 6 to 8 month turn around to get those results."

Bladel says time is of the essence in criminal investigations. Having the technology in-house could cut that down to week response.

"The impact isn't just Davenport,” says Bladel. “Davenport will make use of it, but our vision is to expand that out to other agencies within the quad cities."

Bladel says the system will be implemented at the Davenport Police Department within the next six to eight months. Davenport City Council approved the budget for NIBIN.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives established the National Integrated Ballistic Information network in 1999.

The ATF works to place the program in strategic locations of the country with the goal of giving investigators an edge in the fight against gun violence.

Only crime gun evidence and fired ammunition components under a criminal investigation are entered into NIBIN. Therefore, NIBIN cannot capture or store ballistic information collected at the point of manufacture, importation or sale; nor purchaser or date of manufacture or sale information.

For more information on NIBIN go to https://www.atf.gov/firearms/national-integrated-ballistic-information-networks-nibin