TULSA, Okla. -- The Tulsa Police Department is working to clean up crime-ridden communities by putting more shooters behind bars.
A federal grant awarded this month aims to do just that by cataloging gun shell casings all across Tulsa County.
"This grant is a grant that is a crime gun intelligence center,” Tara Brians Laboratory Director for TPD’s Forensics lab said.
It’s described as an intelligence center built to reduce violent crime in our community, otherwise known as the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network. The machinery catalogs shell casings and analyze them.
The information is then sent off to find correlating gun shells that could develop a lead in a case and identify a shooter.
"Guns that commit the crimes in the city limits to do not stay within the city limits, so if we can locate those guns and the shooters then we can get them off the street,” Brians said.
Currently, TPD has its own NIBIN technology, linking area crimes to guns used all the way to Texas, however other agencies within Tulsa County do not. Agencies other than TPD currently use the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation forensic lab in Edmond, which can sometimes slow down the process when trying to develop a lead in a case.
The grant would expedite the process and allow other jurisdictions to use the database as well by giving TPD’s forensic lab another NIBIN machine.
"Hopefully with our grant and we get the new NIBIN machine that we can start servicing the surrounding areas,” Joy Bucklin, Firearms Technical Leader said.
TPD’s existing NIBIN machine has no case backlog and can turn leads within 24 to 72 hours. The hope is that other agencies will collect shell casings, enter them into the new system and submit them for analysis, essentially creating a network of evidence to link shooters to the crime.
The next step in the process would be an investigation, which then hopefully leads to the prosecution of a suspect linked through shell case comparison.
The Department will spend the next several months developing a proposal of how they want this to work. Officials will then reach out to other agencies to see if they want to participate.
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