Webinar Notes: Gun Crime Investigative Cycle – Bridging the Gaps

Gun Crime Investigative Cycle – Bridging the Gaps


Focus (00:19)

  • Gun crime investigative cycle
  • Investigative and intelligence programs and strategies implemented in their agencies
  • Solutions to bridge the gaps to ensure comprehensive and timely investigations and successful prosecution in such cases
  • Strategies to prioritize leads and direct resources towards success and reduction of firearms violence


Webinar Sponsor: Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology (00:19)

  • Leader in forensic analysis with innovative and effective solutions
  • Helps obtain timely information to create a safer society
  • Dedicated to helping justice professional develop effective crime gun intelligence programs


The Webinar (01:49)

  • Ultra provided the presentation materials which can be downloaded.
  • Event is free-to-attend, with quick polls, Q&A, and survey


Resource Speakers (02:23)

  • Brandon Huntley

    • Forensic Intelligence Strategy Manager, Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology, North America
    • Retired Phoenix Police Department Sergeant
  • Darrel Smith

    • ATF Contractor – Shearwater Systems, Phoenix, AZ
    • Retired Phoenix Police Department Detective
  • Paul Neudigate

    • Assistant Chief, Cincinnati Police Department


Webinar Series Overview (03:38)

  • Timeline

    • Past series

      • February – Grant Writing Made Easy for Implementing Crime Fighting Strategies
      • March – Making Gun Crime a Priority in Your Region: Enforcing the Laws on the Books
      • June – Establishing a Gun Crime Intelligence Program within Your Agency/Region
    • Upcoming installments

      • September – Forensics at the Speed of Crime
      • November – Developing and Implementing Crime Gun Intelligence Prosecution Strategies
  • Some Terms

    • IBIS

      • Integrated Ballistic Identification System
      • IBIS is technology – the standard in over 70 countries
    • NIBIN

      • National Integrated Ballistic Information Network
      • NIBIN is a program
      • Administered by ATF, with more than 170 sites in the US

      • IBIS output results

        • E.g. High confidence candidate, potential hit, exhibit of interest
      • Not evidence
    • A ‘Hit’

      • Expert confirmation of a potential candidate linking at least two criminal cases/shooting events
      • Evidence
    • Crime Gun Tracing

      • A review of firearms transaction records to learn the transfer history associated with a particular firearm from manufacturer to first retail sale.
    • eTrace

      • Electronic Trace system for U.S. sourced guns provided by ATF.


Crime Gun Intelligence (07:16)

  • Two Main Components

    • NIBIN

      • Ballistics
      • Utilizing IBIS
      • The inside of the gun

        • Answers the question “What crimes has the gun been used in?”
        • Links crime to crime
        • Possessor’s gun to crime
    • Tracing

      • Serial number
      • Make
      • Model
      • Caliber
      • Importer
      • The outside of the gun

        • Outside date leads to “The Who”
        • Answers the question “Who has been associated with this gun?”
        • DNA
        • Fingerprint
        • Forensic processing
  • Crime Gun Intelligence also includes:

    • ATF Industry Operations

      • NICS Denials/Delayed Denial notification
      • Multiple Purchase
      • Demand Program
    • NCIC Transactions

      • Stolen/recovered/found
    • DNA/fingerprint analysis
    • Trace evidence

      • Blood, hairs, fibers, etc
    • Gunshot Detection Systems

      • Shot-spotter
    • Crime Gun Intelligence Management and Mapping (GunOps)
    • License Plate Readers (LPR)
    • Combine other resources including:

      • Social media
      • Cellphone data
    • Pawn/Parole/Probation data
  • Breaking It Down

    • Information fuels investigations, Evidence powers prosecution
    • Breaking it down into thirds and bridging the gaps to handle traffic flow

      • Respond and collect info and evidence
      • Extract and analyze info and evidence (with tools)
      • Pursue info and evidence and apprehend suspects
  • Solving Gun Crimes Takes Handoffs and Handshakes

    • A well-coordinated team to manage:

      • Handoffs – exchange of data and information)
      • Handshakes – collaboration of investigators, forensic experts and prosecutors thinking and acting together
    • Success of our collaborative efforts depends upon the team's balance of people, processes, and technology
  • Four Critical Steps for a Successful NIBIN and Crime Gun Intelligence Initiative

    • Comprehensive Collection
    • Timely Turnaround
    • Investigative Follow-up
    • Feedback


Gun Crime Investigative Cycle – Phoenix, AZ (11:06)

  • Darrel Smith

    • Facilitates NIBIN and eTrace program
    • Bridges the gap between the police departments ensuring they meet the ATF’s keys to a successful NIBIN program
  • Phoenix Metro NIBIN Program

    • 1 ATF Contracted Crime Gun Intelligence Coordinator
    • 2 ATF Contracted NIBIN Techs
    • 1 ATF Industry Operations Intelligence Specialist
    • 1 Phoenix PD Sergeant
    • 1 Phoenix PD Detective
    • 1 Phoenix PD Secretary
    • 1 Phoenix PD Police Assistant
  • Approximately 20 Valley Agencies

    • Users include:

      • Detectives
      • CSIs
      • Secretaries
      • Civilians
      • Volunteers
      • Reserve Officers
  • Facilitators

    • All personnel should be adaptable to all positions

      • Supervisors

        • Manages CGIC
        • Liaisons with Contributing Partner Agencies
      • ATF Industry Ops Investigators

        • IO Referral Coordinator
        • Trafficking Referrals
        • NIBIN Facilitator
        • Trace Analysis
      • Analysts

        • NIICS Denial POC
        • NIBIN Package Research/Charts
        • Investigation Assistance
        • General Database Assistance
      • CGI Coordinators

        • Contractors facilitating NIBIN, enters NIBIN evidence and traces Metro Crime Guns
      • Special Agent

        • NIBIN Follow-up Investigator
        • NICS Denial Cases
        • IO Referral Cases
        • FFL Burglary Cases
      • TFO

        • NIBIN Investigations
        • Liaison with Local PD
  • NIBIN in AZ

    • Phoenix Police Department

      • One BRASSTRAX in lab
      • One MATCHPOINT in lab
      • Two BRASSTRAX units outside lab
      • Three MATCHPOINTS outside lab
      • Regional approach
      • Reduces backlog
      • Reduces lab requests
      • NIBIN personnel can swab for DNA
    • Other sites with NIBIN machines

      • Mesa PD
      • Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
      • Tucson PD
      • Border Patrol in Tucson


Crime Gun Intelligence Workflow Phoenix, AZ (21:00)

  • Respond and Collect Data

    • In order to get evidence:

      • Educate ALL personnel that have anything to do with evidence

        • Officers, Supervisors, CSI’s,
        • Prosecutors, property room personnel
      • Conduct training, workshops, briefings, video roll calls
  • Extract and Analyze

    • Obtain and review police reports
    • Utilize all available intel sources
    • Complete NIBIN LEAD worksheet

      • Crimes linked
      • Short synopsis
      • Investigative suggestions
    • Send worksheet to case agents
    • Track hits and LEADs on a spreadsheet
  • Pursue and Apprehend and Convict

    • Assign NIBIN worksheet to appropriate Detectives/Special Agents
    • Send out BOLO’s and Officer Safety bulletins
    • Arrest shooters
  • Feedback

    • Send out “Thank You’s” to Officers, CSI’s, evidence collectors, lab techs, anyone who worked in that case
    • Send out Executive summary to Agency Heads

      • Details of the case
    • Request a Storyboard (FT) for participants, lab, etc.
    • Quarterly meetings

      • Updates on success
      • Problems encountered
      • Updates, round table
  • Worksheet and synopsis samples

    • Cases linked
    • Department / Police report number
    • Crime
    • Evidences received
    • Suggestions for follow up
  • Crime information bulletin sample


Gun Crime Investigative Cycle – Cincinnati, OH (38:29)

  • Lieutenant Colonel Paul Neudigate

    • Assistant Police Chief
    • Drives Cincinnati Police Violence Reduction Strategy
    • Benefits gained through their Gun Crime Investigation Strategy
  • Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV)

    • History

      • Original model in existence from 2007-2013, modeled after David Kennedy’s Group Violence Interruption / Focused Deterrence Model.
      • Strictly focused on disrupting Gang/Group Member Involved Gun Violence through use of targeted enforcement and Call-ins.
      • In 2007, we had over 2,000 identified gang members. 2017 just over 700 due to changes in policing.
      • Lack of Federal prosecutions. No teeth to the promise to hold “everyone accountable for the next body that drops!”
      • Lack of external follow-up. Promised jobs and help faded.
      • Even with a successful gang disruption, lucky to obtain a 90-120 day cessation of violence. Months of work for little ROI.
      • 2013-2016 virtually without a defined violence reduction strategy.

    • Developed in 2016 with an internal chief who understood the background and the issues
    • Model based on the crime triangle

      • Law Enforcement
      • Violent people

        • Offenders

          • Group/Gang

            • Investigations

              • State Prosecution
              • Federal Prosecution   
            • Outreach

              • Probation Re-entry Social Services
              • Outreach advocates Cincinnati Works City Link, etc.
            • Priority Offender
      • Violent places

        • Shootings and gun crime are a significant problem

          • In certain areas, these offenses are highly concentrated and sustained
        • Traditional enforcement efforts have not been effective/effective enough

          • Problems tend to return after resource commitment returns to normal levels (90 days and violence returns)
        • Density Map of Violent Crimes in the city

          • Provided the areas to focus on
          • 2011
          • Consistent from year to year based on 5-year data

            • Homicides
            • Aggravated Assaults
            • Gun runs
            • Aggravated Robberies
        • Graph presenting Systemically Violent Locations vs. Total Area
        • PIVOT Strategy (Place-based Investigations of Violent Offender Territory)

          • Three Components

            • City Resources – Criminal and Civil Litigation
            • Community Resources
            • Outside Resources

              • Chamber of Commerce
              • Area Business Associations
          • Method

            • Identify Locations / Select long-standing (persistent) violent locations
            • Offender Networks

              • Investigate networks of chronic offenders and contributing places:

                • Offender Based
                • Place Based
              • Disrupt these networks through a coordinated, City-wide effort
            • Place Networks
            • Establish Sustainability

              • Monitor and sustain crime reductions by building victim/resident/business sustainability
          • PIVOT leverages all available city resources that work together to mitigate violence and sustains efforts for long-term results.

            • City Planning
            • Buildings & Inspections
            • Community & Economic Development
            • Health Department
            • Fire Department
            • Law Department
            • Environment & Sustainability
            • Public Services
            • Transportation & Engineering
            • Keep Cincinnati Beautiful
            • Cincinnati Recreation Commission
            • Parks Department
            • Community Partnering Center
            • Port Authority
            • Community Redevelopment Corporation
            • Local Community Councils
          • Graph illustrating the change in the average days between shooting cases prior and after PIVOT was launched.
      • Victims

        • Largest challenge in reducing gun violence

          • Approximately 2/3 of all our shootings have non-cooperative victims and witnesses
          • Over 50% of all shooting victims flee scene prior to police arrival if it is even called into 911.
        • In 2016, implemented CCROW (Cincinnati Citizens Respect Our Witnesses).

          • Full-time victims advocates work with witnesses to homicides to overcome the “No Snitch” mentality that plagues all of our communities.
        • As a result, greater reliance on technology such as Shot Spotter, NIBIN, cameras.


Crime Gun Intelligence – Cincinnati, OH (51:44)

  • ShotSpotter

    • Current cities implementing technology empirically show only 12-16% of all shots fired activity is being called into 911.
    • Shot Spotter alerts to sound of gunfire and alerts police within 30-45 seconds and provides a precise location within 82 feet of the incident.
    • Quicker response.
    • More precise location, now know where to respond and can engage the community and ensure them we care about all gun crime.
    • Additional recovery of shell casings for NIBIN entry.

    • ATF-funded BRASSTRAX in place at local crime lab (Coroner’s Office) until 2010. Removed due to lack of use, not a priority
    • July 2015, a huge increase in gun violence. ATF RAC offers to start sending our shell casings to ATF Lab in Maryland for NIBIN entry.
    • Queen City Tower Case Study

      • Timeline
      • Investigation

        • Several dozen interviews of current and former employees
        • Those recently terminated, recently divorced, etc.
        • Canvassed hundreds of businesses.
        • Reviewed hundreds of hours of CCTV footage.
        • Spent approximately $25,000 for cell phone tower dumps on days of incidents.
        • NO USABLE LEADS.
      • Assigned detective familiar with NIBIN from when we had it before. Drove casings up to crime lab in central Ohio for submission.
      • Monday, December 21, 2015 (260 days after first incident), NIBIN correlation matching Herald’s Glock 19 to QCT offenses.
      • Identified Rayshawn Herald from surveillance footage.
      • Results of Closure

        • CPD purchases own NIBIN system (BRASSTRAX and MATCHPOINT)
        • Embedded in the PD where shell casing entry gets top priority.
        • Trained two seasoned detectives (not civilians/criminalists) who were assigned full-time NIBIN coordinator duties.
        • Go live with our own system July 2016.
      • Samples of ATF/CPD OCIS NIBIN findings and correlations
    • Why does NIBIN work for us?

      • Comprehensive Collection

        • Begins at the scene
        • The priority level for ALL firearm ballistic evidence must be equal

          • Not just shootings/homicides
          • No longer kick shell casings into the gutter.
        • All firearm-related evidence entered into NIBIN, regardless of crime (some firearm exceptions)
        • Includes recovered cartridge casings and test fires from all guns coming into our possession (crime, found, stolen, etc.)
        • Evidence MUST be submitted in a TIMELY manner
      • Timeliness

        • Goal: from collection to entry into BrassTrax within 24-48 hours of offense.
        • NNCTC Correlation Review
        • Goal: Provide leads/correlations to investigators within 48-72 hours of incident (24 hours for priority cases)
        • Goal: Notify investigator of negative results (no
        • matches) within 1 week.
      • Investigative Follow-Up

        • Correlations/leads are sent to District/Section Commanders for immediate assignment to assigned detective.
        • 45 days after receipt, investigative commanders present an update on investigative follow-up at our weekly STARS meeting.
        • Sample of an investigative follow-up that detectives present which are then verified via NIBIN
      • Feedback Loop

        • Email sent to recovering officer, not just assigned investigator, so they are aware the efforts are resulting in investigative leads.
        • Development of searchable NIBIN database for entire Department, not just investigative personnel.
    • NIBIN: Bridging the Gaps

      • NIBIN site – embedded in Cincinnati Police Department where it is directly under our control and we are responsible for timely entry (Investigative vs. forensic tool).
      • Have trained ten additional jurisdictions who are now entering their own ballistic trace evidence into our system, has to be regional.

        • Linking guns to adjacent communities because gun violence has no boundaries.
      • Comprehensive collection is becoming embedded in organizational culture.
      • Follow-up process critical and integrated into our version of CompStat.
      • Homicide and district Investigative Units making NIBIN coordinator one of the first calls.
      • Not just about closing homicides and shootings.
      • Still, have uncooperative victims/witnesses.
      • You know who to target for additional enforcement (our Priority Offender strategy).
      • May not be able to charge/convict on the homicide but a Federal gun conviction netting 7-8 years is still a win.
      • End goal is to prevent further shootings and reduce crime rate.
      • Have to have a great working relationship with ATF and your U.S. Attorney.
      • Our Federal prosecutions have doubled over the last year giving us the teeth we lacked with state weapons and drug trafficking prosecutions of violent offenders.
  • eTrace

    • Graph of top 10 firearms and FFLs
  • Caution

    • No single strategy is absolute. There is no magic bullet for gun violence reduction.
    • Strategies and technology form a layered approach that needs to be evaluated on daily basis.


For questions and clarifications, contact:

Brandon Huntley

Forensic Intelligence Strategy Manager, North America





Crime Gun Intelligence Coordinator

ATF Contractor – Shearwater Systems

Retired Phoenix Police Detective




Lieutenant Colonel Paul Neudigate

Assistant Police Chief

Cincinnati Police Department





Crime Gun Intelligence Website sponsored by ATF, DOJ, BJA & Police Foundation https://crimegunintelcenters.org

App can be downloaded: http://www.theiacp.org/Firearms-Application  

Guide can be downloaded: https://www.atf.gov/file/58626/download

Ultra Electronics Forensic Technology www.solvemorecrime.com



"It is very important to work together. With Phoenix, the group works outside of the crime lab, but has a very close working relationship with the crime lab. And it is very important that they work effectively together, as with the first responders, the folks that collect the evidence, property management folks… and also balancing the people, processes, and technology." – Brandon Huntley


"The reason for the regional approach is because some departments are limited with resources and it's a small department so the amount of guns received, the amount of evidence they seize might not qualify them. They might not be able to justify a machine, that's why we invite them there in Phoenix PD. With having this regional approach it also really helps some of the backlog of cases, because soon as they get 'em, smaller departments can come right down and enter their evidence and keep very current." – Darrel Smith


"It is very important to have very good contacts with all of our agencies that participate in our NIBIN program because I have to depend on them to send me the police reports. So far, to date, it's been phenomenal. That's another part of bridging the gap where if I didn't have those people I would have to take the trip out to that department and go to public records and all that stuff. Having them in-house really helps speed up and I get the reports the same day I get the hit so that's a very good tool for us." – Darrel Smith


"When we talk about PIVOT, it's just not a police department initiative, we've got multiple city departments and external agencies that meet with us on a monthly basis, and we come up with a coordinated, dedicated strategy on how to attack that chronic violent location. Having all those partners at the table has worked wonders, we've all had different code enforcement efforts such as CIRV but this is really for us taking it to a new level." – Paul Neudigate


"When we did buy our own NIBIN, we didn't just buy it with CPD in mind, we bought it as a regional gun crime initiative." – Paul Neudigate



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