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ATF rolls high tech van into Cleveland as part of Operation Legend

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-09 18:50:50-04

CLEVELAND — Dozens of federal agents are on the streets of Cleveland as part of Operation Legend. But, it’s not just manpower being surged to Cleveland to fight crime.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has rolled cutting edge, crime-fighting technology to Cleveland.

The ATF has two NIBIN mobile crime labs, one is in Cleveland. NIBIN is the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

It’s a specialized computer network that contains digital images of recovered ballistic evidence. It allows law enforcement to quickly determine if a piece of ballistic evidence came from a gun that had been used in a previous crime.

“Within hours we can connect the dots,” said Investigator Michael Thrush.

Since being dispatched to Cleveland, technicians have examined dozens of crime guns linked to more than 100 shootings.

“We can generate crime gun intelligence within hours rather than a couple of days,” said Thrush.

Like fingerprints, each gun is different, leaving behind a ballistic fingerprint. The firing pin leaves being microscopic markings. Those images are uploaded into a national database for comparison.

Police can then compare the results to find out if the same weapon has been used in multiple crimes. The mobile crime lab is expected to remain in Cleveland for the foreseeable future.

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