Technology helps trace bullet casing, housed by Chatham County Police

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Technology housed at the Chatham County Police Headquarters is helping agencies across South Georgia trace bullets back to guns.

Police say it has helped with thousands of leads over the past few years.

First, police test fire the suspect’s gun.

“And after that test fire, they take the casing and put it in what’s essentially a big camera.”

This is what ATF agents call the NIBIN system. It stands for National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. It’s housed at CCPD and used by 28 counties in South Georgia.

Once the casing is in the system...

“The machine is actually able to, take that and compare it against everything else that’s entered in there and if there’s a potential match and it’s referred to as a lead.”

So right now you’re looking at two different casings. One is from a gun belonging to a Chatham County Police suspect and the other is from a Savannah police suspect.

“I’m going to match these up.”

And you see they look just alike...

“That looks like a match. Exactly.”

So they were able to connect one suspect to several crimes across multiple agencies. Since 2020, the system has produced 7,000 leads. It’s a device Chatham County police chief Jeff Hadley is happy to have.

“Those shell casings belong to the same gun which more than likely belonged to the same person. That gives us some investigative leads, some ability to prosecute and things of that nature and gives us a lot of data sets to move forward,” said Chatham County Police Chief Jeff Hadley.

And even if they don’t have the suspect’s gun but have the casings from the crime scene, they can use the system to find a match and possibly someone responsible. It’s a $350,000 purchase by ATF.

“By investigating these leads we can look at other accomplices and other things that it’s linked to that might not necessarily be available from the get go,” said Supervisory Special Agent Matthew Beccio with ATF.

The latest technology helping multiple police agencies get criminals off the streets.