The ATF National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) is a game-changer when it comes to crime gun strategy. It is then imperative to ensure law enforcement agencies are aware of its capabilities and the intelligence derived from it to address gun crimes. This Justice Clearinghouse session provides guidelines on how South Carolina is maximizing NIBIN in accordance with the NIBIN Minimum Required Operating Standards (MROS) from the investigation and prosecution perspective.
This course’s instructors are Michael Eberhardt, Suzanne Cromer, and Justin Holloway. Michael is the owner of Crime Gun Investigations and Consulting, LLC, and is a National Crime Gun Intelligence Strategist with an extensive background working with the ATF. Suzanne is from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), she is a forensic scientist, member of the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners (AFTE) and a training coordinator for the Firearms Department. Lastly, Justin is the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) Coordinator and Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) in the District of South Carolina, experienced in working with violent crime prosecutions.
Specifics that delved into on this course are:
- A glimpse into the NIBIN – its operational history, the expansion of its use, and the institutions involved in establishing the NIBIN MROS.
- The firearm examiner’s perspective through the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
- SLED’s history, goal, and work.
- The three types of appointments that SLED offers and unpacking the processes involved, chain of custody, triaging of cases, and leads notification.
- The NIBIN MROS that SLED adheres to in their procedures.
- Evaluating SLED’s processes and outcomes through a feedback loop with their customers and statistics that highlight the improvements in terms of appointments, entries, and leads.
- Pointers for agencies who want to launch a NIBIN EBA program on how to develop and secure buy-in for it.
- The benefits that NIBIN brought at the prosecution side exhibited through case examples as NIBIN was able to:
- Generate leads for unsolved cases and bond/detention hearings.
- Provide additional evidence of possession at trials.
- Prove an individual’s/gun’s involvement in multiple incidents and justify sentence enhancements.
- Assist in sting-operations that led to proactive investigations just based on purchased firearms
Questions raised during the Q&A were on:
- The timeliness of submitting firearms evidence.
- Handling appointments that are for multiple cartridge casings.
- What types of reports are included as results of test-fires.
- What is influencing the increase of NIBIN entries.
- NIBIN-related studies and resources.
- The number of SLED’s operational NIBIN terminals.
- Getting agency buy-in to take part in SLED’s NIBIN initiative.
- Retaining NIBIN-test-fired cartridges.
Resources and Handouts
- “It’s was interesting to know abt the standard procedure followed and the time gap in which the data are stored.” — Akhilesh
- “A lot of useful information, I like the sticker idea to remind agencies to call if the firearm is being released.” — Cynthia
- “As a new agency to NIBIN entry, it was good to hear how other organizations have approached this task, as well as case examples of NIBIN developed/aided prosecutions.” — Daniel
- “This covered a broad range of topics. this helped reinforce that I have our agency pointed in the right direction. It was very helpful to find out the test-fire retention timeline used by SLED.” — Brian
- “This was a fantastic presentation on how a NIBIN/CGIC program should work.” — Jonathan
- “Good ideas for speeding up the test fire, triage, and data entry process.” — Justin