National Integrated Ballistic Information Network Program

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The National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) is a national program administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that allows law enforcement agencies to share information, link cases, and obtain investigative leads in firearms related crimes.

When a cartridge case is fired, the gun leaves behind markings on the cartridge case. These markings can be used to identify the cartridge case back to the gun that fired it. The NIBIN system makes use of these markings by taking a digital image of the evidence and searching it against the database of crime scene cartridge case images for similar markings. The system returns a list of possible candidates for comparison and a Firearms Examiner reviews each correlation to determine if there are any hits. If a hit is found the examiner confirms the hit by comparing the evidence on a comparison microscope.

Mesa PD entered a partnership with the ATF in 2003 and an image acquisition station or Integrated Ballistic Identification System (IBIS) was deployed to the Mesa PD Crime Laboratory. Currently the Mesa Police Department is one of three agencies in the Phoenix metropolitan area that operate IBIS units. (The other two are the Phoenix Police Department and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.)

CartridgeCaseNIBIN Advantages:

- allows Mesa PD to link shootings to each other and to seized firearms

- crosses jurisdictional boundaries and allows multi-agency searches

- entered images stay in system and are searched against new entries