Charleston Police crack cases using new ATF ballistics database

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK/AP) — A police department in West Virginia has started a crime solving partnership using a database that links shell casings to specific guns.

The Charleston Police Department on Wednesday announced it is now using the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. The database compares high-resolution images of shell casings to find markings unique to a certain weapon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is providing the system at no cost to the city.

Charleston Police Chief Opie Smith said the database has already proven to be beneficial by linking cases that originally had no apparent connections.

“You’re talking 3 months and having success already in 5 different scenes, yeah it’s just a matter of time it’s just gonna assist us further,” said Smith.

The statement says a Charleston police detective who has been trained to use the system has been assigned to cases in which shell casings or firearms are recovered as evidence.

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