ATF demonstrates mobile crime-solving technology

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) had their new training center’s grand opening in Huntsville Wednesday.

To demonstrate how they serve the country and community, they organized a mock crime scene.

At a scene where there’s been a shooting, it’s often an explosive detection K9 that is the first on the scene. They’re specifically trained to sniff out anything to do with explosives or firearms. The K9’s can sniff out shell casings in all weather, all terrain, and no matter how old the shell casings are. Some of the casings used in Wednesday’s simulation were shot two days ago, and some of them eight months ago.

The next stop to solving these crimes is going through the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network(NIBIN) lab.

“ATF’S mantra is to recover and acquire all firearms related evidence,” said firearms examiner Walter Dandridge Jr.

ATF has a mobile van that carries technology which examines shell casings and firearm evidence and can almost immediately link that evidence to similar evidence.

“Typically one firearm is used in multiple shootings at different times,” Dandridge said. “And the NIBN system can link those separate shooting to a specific firearm.”

Firearm examiners at the new training center in Huntsville look at the shell casings, which are like a fingerprint. They each have unique marks and can be matched to other shell casings to determine which gun they come from.

This advanced technology helps crime solvers achieve the same common goal.

“So we can shooters off the street,” Dandridge said. “Trigger-pullers off the street.”