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The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Crime Laboratory will implement a multi-faceted approach to increase partnerships to help link firearms-related crimes which might not otherwise be connected.

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $386,800)

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) established National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) to provide law enforcement agencies with an automated ballistic imaging network. The program provides actionable investigative leads by comparing firearms evidence to reveal previously unknown connections between violent crimes committed in different jurisdictions.

Firearm and cartridge case submissions to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) Crime Laboratory have increased exponentially over the last four years, which has led to a threefold increase in the number of NIBIN entries from 2018 to 2021.

A specialized firearms 3D High-Capacity imaging and analysis system consists of patented hardware that utilizes a high-resolution imaging platform and a fifteen cartridge case scanning tray. The specialized software implements 3D visualization, virtual comparison microscopy (VCM), database search, automated comparison, full X3P support (for data sharing), report generation and the ability to share data both within and between labs. Utilizing the only scanning tray in the industry capable of holding and scanning fifteen cartridge cases of various calibers in less than ten minutes can reduce triage time in many cases involving fired cartridge cases from crime scenes. The portable scanner can be utilized at a scene where in-field measurements are required to provide immediate actionable intelligence regarding the number of firearms involved, or in the potential situation of a mass shooting involving a large amount of cartridge cases. Additionally, once validated, VCM comparisons of firearms evidence will be more time efficient compared with traditional light comparison microscopy (LCM) and may lead to less inconclusive results.

In addition to the firearms imaging system, grant funds will be utilized to purchase a warranty that includes key services that ensure the systems continue to be compliant with the Department of Justice requirements and is needed for continued access to the NIBIN Database.

The purchase of the specialized firearms 3D High-Capacity System and the warranty will improve the quality and timeliness of the services provided by the ACSO Crime Laboratory while allowing for the expansion of the number of cases received for examination and NIBIN entry to benefit the investigations of firearms-related crimes in Alameda County.

Date Created: September 28, 2022