NIBIN Links Drive by Shooting Investigations with Homicide Investigation

By: Joyce Riba & Jan Schmitt

​As an instructor for IAPE, I always try to mingle with the students and learn some of the systems and processes they are using which have been successful for them when handling or storing evidence.It was during one of these classes that I met Evidence Identification Supervisor Jan Schmitt from the Yuma Police Department.He had some very exciting things to say about the success their department has had with linking crimes together with the use of NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistics Information Network). I wanted to share his story with you.

NIBIN has helped us match homicides in which we had a suspect in custody, to drive by shootings with no suspects, and matched multiple drive by shootings to each other. 

Jan Schmitt - Yuma Police Department
The Yuma Police Department has been active participants in the NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistics Information Network) program for about 8 years.Although we don't have a system of our own, we have partnered with the Phoenix Police Department and use their equipment to enter scene casings (empty cartridges ejected from firearms) and casings obtained from test fired evidence firearms.

NIBIN uses proprietary software developed by Forensic Technology Incorporated to match a magnified digital photograph of the head-stamp, ejector marks and firing pin impressions of entered casing, with those of previously entered casings.Once casings are entered, the information remains in the system so new entries are matched against millions of casings in the database.If you're familiar with AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), it's like AFIS for casings.

The system has been very successful nationwide, and after our last entry, approximately one month ago, we received notification that four (4) of them matched to other cases.This will allow our detectives to conduct further follow-up, and not only confirm involvement in gun crimes, but indicates involvement in multiple shootings.There are two of us in the Yuma PD Forensics Lab that have been trained to do entries and make a monthly trip to Phoenix to do so

NIBIN has helped us match homicides in which we had a suspect in custody, to drive by shootings with no suspects, and matched multiple drive by shootings to each other.

Thank you, Jan Schmitt, for sharing you stories with us.This may encourage other law enforcement departments to research the benefits NIBIN may give to their investigations.

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