DES MOINES, Iowa -- "This is a big day for us," said Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert. "This will allow our investigators kind of a leg up, if you will, when investigating and following up on those gun violence type crimes. They`ll be able to secure that evidence at the scene, analyze it, test it here at the station, and hopefully within 24-48 hours, get that information back, those results back, and get out there and begin investigating those crimes."
The new machine will allow the Des Moines Police Department to match forensic information of shell casings in the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), right from the Des Moines Police Station. That means the DMPD will get results back in a day or two, instead of having to wait several months.
"Currently, the only other machine doing this analysis is at the Department of Criminal Investigation Lab in Ankeny, Iowa and as of up until last week, they were providing that service for the entire state," said Chief Wingert. "As you can, see that's a huge undertaking for their employees up there, which prompted us to move in this direction."
Victor Murillo, Criminalist at the DCI Crime Lab, says the NIBIN system is like DNA for firearms, and the fact that Des Moines Police now have their own machine, will significantly help with the backlog that currently exists at the crime lab.
"We`re hoping that a lot of the guns that are just sitting here waiting to be test fired, which there are hundreds of them, are going to go back to Des Moines and they can work their own cases," said Murillo. "Test fire them, put them into their system, and then in the future do the same, as well as they can look at a lot of their own drive by shooting cases now too. So, when they've got those multiple cartridge cases of multiple bullets they can look at them, triage them, try to figure out how many guns are involved, with all those pieces of evidence."