ALAMANCE COUNTY, N.C. — Over the last 12 months more than 6,500 shell cases from guns found at crime scenes have been entered in the ATF computer system in Greensboro. A mobile unit is making the system more accessible to counties that wouldn’t normally have access.
What You Need To Know
Only two mobile National Integrated Ballistic Information Network Unit (NIBIN) exist in the U.S.
There are only two hardwire machines in the Triad
This system has helped law enforcement with more than 2,000 investigative leads over the last year
The Mobile National Integrated Ballistic Information Network Unit (NIBIN), one of only two in the United States, has been stationed throughout the Carolinas for the last several weeks to assist in test fires and ballistics evaluation from guns and casings recovered at area crime scenes.
"We compare to the two test fires, we fire each one twice and then out of two we determined which one had the best markings. A lot of the times the injector will hit on a letter or number, and we don’t want that," said Richard Wilmoth, a crime gun intelligence specialist.
The shell casings received from the guns will be entered into an information system for ballistics and firearms tracing, and that is sent to the ATF center in Huntsville, Alabama, where they keep track of the shell casings like fingerprints.
“They actually look at the images and then an algorithm tells them, 'hey we believe these are your top matches based off the images,'” Wilmoth said.
Those results come back in 24 to 48 hours, with a 99.6% accuracy, giving investigators leads on crimes. Wilmoth has been in law enforcement for seven years and with ATF for the last two and a half.
“My position here at the ATF allows me to have the biggest impact on violent crimes specifically, and we all know the importance of that kind of work,” Wilmoth said.
Wilmoth says this mobile unit is a convenience for officers in the more rural areas. They can just bring the seized firearms and get them tested and entered into the system.
“What typically happens is Graham or Burlington or Alamance County, they’ll have a crime happen. They’ll drive to Greensboro, fire that gun and put into that exact same machine in Greensboro,” Wilmoth said.
The van has been stationed in the Triad for two weeks and had tested more than 600 firearms for Alamance, Randolph, Rockingham, Guilford and Davidson counties, giving hundreds of investigative leads on violent crimes.
"It is one of the few sources of intelligence that we have that gives us this amount of information about violent crimes specifically," Wilmoth said.
More than 20 law enforcement agencies from around North Carolina used the mobile NIBIN unit.