Casey: Give Berks County Access to Key Law Enforcement Resources to Help Fight Crime

Berks County Needs Equipment to Access High Tech Database; In Letter to ATF Senator Asks Agency to Aid County in Pursuit

Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) urged the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to aid Berks County in its bid to obtain equipment to access the National Integrated Ballistics Identification Network (NIBIN). Right now, Berks County lacks the necessary equipment to gain access to NIBIN.  Obtaining access to the network will help law enforcement throughout Berks County better identify matches between firearms and ammunition found at a crime scene and previous entries from crime scenes and test firings. Access to the network was identified as one of the community’s top priorities during the crime summit. The placement of an additional site in Pennsylvania will complement the successful law enforcement efforts already undertaken in other regions within the Commonwealth.

“During the crime summit gaining access to this ballistics network was identified as a key priority, and I’m urging the ATF to help Berks gain access to this critical law enforcement tool,” Senator Casey said. “Berks County’s law enforcement officials are doing all they can to fight crime, and it’s essential that the ATF help these officers gain access to the tools they need.”

The National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN) is administrated by the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  NIBIN is a system that utilizes electronic image comparisons to identify matches between firearms and ammunition found at a crime scene and previous entries from crime scenes and test firings.  In order to access the network, local law enforcement agencies utilize Integrated Ballistic Identification Systems (IBIS), none of which are currently located within Berks County.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:

Mr. B. Todd Jones

Acting Director

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Dear Mr. Jones:

On January 18th, 2013, I joined a number of elected officials, community leaders and stakeholders in participating in a regional crime summit to discuss coordinated strategies to reduce violent crimes within Berks County and primarily the City of Reading.  As part of this discussion, members of local law enforcement identified specific resources that would assist in the challenges they face throughout their criminal investigations.  The purpose of this letter is to bring your attention to their primary recommendation to obtain access to the National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network (NIBIN).

The National Integrated Ballistic Identification Network is administrated by the Department of Justice through the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).  As you know, NIBIN is a system that utilizes electronic image comparisons to identify matches between firearms and ammunition found at a crime scene and previous entries from crime scenes and test firings.  In order to access the network, local law enforcement agencies utilize Integrated Ballistic Identification Systems (IBIS), none of which are currently located within Berks County. The placement of an additional site in Pennsylvania will complement the successful law enforcement efforts already undertaken in other regions within the Commonwealth.

It is my understanding that, under the direction of ATF, these systems have been placed in numerous cities across the country, with an emphasis on locations that ensure a considerable regional impact. The County of Berks is committed to developing a regional collaboration to ensure that any equipment placed within the County will be used throughout the Greater Berks County region, including the city of Reading, and beyond into the Lehigh Valley and Southeastern Pennsylvania.  I believe that their efforts to develop a coordinated approach strongly aligns with ATF’s goals to ensure the greatest possible impact is felt where this equipment is placed.  For these reasons, I urge ATF to utilize any appropriate discretionary authority to prioritize the placement of equipment within Berks County. 

I look forward to working with your office as we evaluate strategies to curb the violent crimes that have been impacting Berks County.  Thank you in advance for you attention to this matter.  If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

 

###

Press Contact

April Mellody 202-228-6367