A new technology for law enforcement agencies first announced in August is now being adopted in Louisiana.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI developed a new standard in August that allows law enforcement to accurately match shell casings with a national database in order to solve crimes. The database, called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), is now being used by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab.
"In a lot of cases the detective may not have a lead or any kind of information that's going to help him solve his case," Jeff Goudeau, the firearms supervisor for Louisiana State Police Crime Lab, told WAFB Channel 9 in Baton Rouge. "We can tell him, ‘hey - the gun that did your shooting is the same as the one in another shooting' which can sometimes be in a whole different agency or at least a different part of the city."
Officials said that so far, they've linked 600 shootings to each other using the database. Sometimes, a single gun was used in several different shootings; in one case, a single gun was used in at least eight shootings.
"The technology helps us say, 'hey these two cartridge cases look like they may have been used in the same gun.' We still have to manually put it on the microscope and confirm and it has to be two examiners to confirm that it is the same gun that was used in those two scenes," Goudeau told WAFB. "We still can't do things in an hour like they do on TV, but from the time a shooting occurs normally we can have a report in a detectives hand within two to three weeks.”