Reducing Gun Violence with Technology

Last week in San Diego, thousands of high-ranking police assembled for the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) in San Diego, California.

Amid the speeches and lectures, there was a presentation moderated by former ATF SAC Pete Gagliardi titled Gun Violence: A Three-Pronged Attack. Based on Gagliardi’s white paper Spears of the Trident, this panel presentation featured speakers that described their real-life experiences with three distinct softwares that can combine to become a powerful force for law enforcement agencies wanting to combat gun crime.

white-paper-chartThe first software is ShotSpotter, a real-time gunshot detection and location system. Mark Jones, a retired ATF agent, is currently the senior Director of Customer Success for ShotSpotter. He described how ShotSpotter Flex is being used in neighborhoods where shootings are not reported. When ShotSpotter alerts police to a shooting and provides its location, not only is evidence collected, but the public is reassured that their community is being looked after.

With evidence in hand that would have otherwise never been collected, forensic personnel can then move forward with the investigation, explained Major Geoffrey Noble from the New Jersey State Police. The NJSP uses IBIS TRAX-HD3D, a system that forms the backbone of the National Integrated Ballistics Network (NIBIN). Forensics enters spent cartridge casings into IBIS/NIBIN. Evidence is collected in a massive database and instantly compared to other pieces of evidence. Likely matches to a gun, or other case are then flagged, thus providing an investigative lead.

New Jersey is leading the country in their innovative approach to gun violence. The state has put into effect a comprehensive crime gun protocol that requires police to process firearm evidence in as short a delay as possible – and not just some evidence, all of it.

To help accomplish this, the NJSP turned to GunOps – a web-based gun crime tracking system that both facilitates investigations and collaboration. Rocky Edwards, a retired Federal Agent with the U.S. Army CID and a certified forensic science expert, and currently the chairman of the company, created GunOps to not only help forensic personnel, but investigators too. “Because GunOps can be connected to IBIS, and its web-based, it lets everyone read off the same page. Whether you’re an examiner looking for evidence in a hotspot, an investigator looking for investigative leads, or the chief wanting a big picture view of crime in your city, GunOps gives you what you need.”

These three technologies can provide law enforcers with real-time intelligence that offers tactical and strategic value and help solve gun crimes faster.  Not only do each of these softwares bring value to investigators, but they leverage each other as well.

  • Because of ShotSpotter, the crimes and evidence that would otherwise go unnoticed is now able to be collected and analyzed using GunOps and IBIS.
  • The crime scene and forensic data compiled and presented by GunOps is of great value to investigators in terms of intelligence and to firearm examiners as they manage their evidence workloads.
  • The links and leads provided by IBIS help advance investigations to identify and stop armed criminals.

Gagliardi closed the panel by invoking the purpose of the ancient weapon.  “What if we re-wrote the story – and replaced the three spears of the Trident with IBIS, GunOps and ShotSpotter – maybe we could use it to rattle the underworld of gun violence and restore peace.

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