Mon. Sep 25th, 2023

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) – Technology continues to develop and with it, so does the work of our police officers.

Over the past few years, the Amarillo Police Department has been utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network or NIBIN.

Everyone knows that no two fingerprints are the same but that goes for guns as well. The impressions on bullet casings when fired, are like a fingerprint.

“So basically it’s similar to a fingerprinting system for ballistics information, and so our goal is that on every shooting case, we collect evidence and we enter into the NIBIN system, and it makes connections between shooting so we can more easily identify who had committed the shooting,” explains Chief of Police, Martin Birkenfeld.

With the use of this national database, APD is able to essentially input either a bullet casing or a gun and find its match.

“Before NIBIN we had to send our evidence off to other places to either a state or national lab to have it analyzed and sometimes that could take weeks or months to get that evidence back with our system and with the efficiency with which our technician is operating, it’s days or less when we get that information back,” says Birkenfeld.

Since the database is used nationally, APD’s entries can help other police departments across the United States

“We’ve also developed leads from Dallas we’ve developed leads all the way into Albuquerque, Oklahoma City,” lists Lieutenant James Clements, Homicide Unit Commander for APD.

In 2022, APD entered 1,270 hundred shell casings, increasing their leads by 28 percent.

So far this year, the department has entered 623 casings and is up to 357 leads through the ‘NIBIN system’ alone.

Not only has the homicide division seen great success within the department, they have also been recognized by the ATF.

“We were recently audited, and we received what they call a gold standard, which means that all of our entries are in within a certain time. Our entries are in correctly, the data that we enter is correct,” says Clements.

APD says using NIBIN has helped them catch criminals and solve cases faster.

“We want to make it very difficult for somebody to commit a crime with a gun and not get caught because that’s going to reduce the crime in general and that’s our goal were to use every technology tool at our disposal to make sure that happen,” says Birkenfeld.

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