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Police in Charleston, W.Va., using ATF ballistics database

July 24, 2019

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (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 says in a news release the database “has already proven to be beneficial in linking cases that otherwise would not have any apparent connections.”

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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