Grant To Help Expand Ballistics Database For Green Country Law Enforcement

Monday, October 15th 2018, 5:32 pm
By: News On 6

A new grant could help investigators connect crimes in Tulsa with crimes from all over Green Country.

The idea is to create a regional database that law enforcement agencies across Green Country can use to connect crime scenes so they can get violent, repeat offenders off the streets.

Firearms examiners at the Tulsa Police Forensic Lab use several methods to try and connect the dots of a crime from evidence left behind.

“We use different acids to restore serial numbers,” said Firearms Technical Leader Joy Bucklin.  “In the firearms sections, our main job is to compare fired bullets and cartridge cases and compare them with suspect firearms.”

A crucial step to the process is putting every cartridge casing into the NIBIN Database.

“It is a way to link crime scenes together through cartridge casings,” said Bucklin.

They’ve used the database to connect crimes in Tulsa, but thanks to a government grant, that technology is about to go regional.

“All local law enforcement agencies can and will put their evidence into this database so we can link crimes together,” said Laboratory Director Tara Brians.

Brians said that guns used in “crimes in the city limits do not stay within the city limits.”

The grant money will be used to pay overtime for investigators, to prosecute cases, and to test gun crime evidence.

Right now, the focus is on building partnerships and getting as many Green Country law enforcement agencies on board as possible.  It’s all part of an effort to reduce violent crime and make Green Country communities safer.

“Oklahoma State University is going to be a research partner that will help look at the data to see what impact we are having on violent crime,” said Brians.  “They will help us use that data and statistics to really drive policy.”

TPD says the long-term goal is to have a statewide database, but they will need more money and time.  They want to focus on building the network in Green Country first and see how far they can get in the first three years.