ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


ATF News
For Immediate Release:
FY-00-11
Contact: John D'Angelo
(202) 927-8500
Date:
April 27, 2000



First Class to Graduate from ATF's National Firearms Examiner Academy

On Friday,
April 28, 2000, ATF's National Firearms Examiner Academy will graduate
its first class of eight firearms examiners. The graduates, who will be
expected to provide expert court testimony in the field of firearms examination
and toolmark identification, work for State and local law enforcement
agencies throughout the country.

ATF,
in cooperation with the Association of Firearms and Toolmark Examiners
(AFTE), developed the academy to increase the number of experts in the
field, which is experiencing a critical shortage, and to set nationally
accepted standards to coincide with the establishment of the National
Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN). The network is a cutting
edge computer system that compares high resolution, three-dimensional
images of spent bullets and shell casings which bear imprints and markings
uniquely characteristic of the firearm from which they were fired. Current
plans call for every Federal judicial district in the country to be included
in the network, which will link firearms and ballistics evidence from
throughout the nation in the same database, by 2002.

The year-long
academy includes training in firearm and ballistics identification, serial
number restoration, toolmark identification, shooting scene reconstruction,
gunshot residue analysis, and ballistics trajectory analysis. The curriculum
consists of independent study, classroom instruction, months of on-the-job
training, the research and presentation of a thesis paper, and moot court
exercises.

Graduates
of the first class of the National Firearms Examiners Academy are from
the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department, Harris County Texas Sheriff's
Department, Hennepin County Minnesota Sheriff's Department, Houston Police
Department, Los Angeles County Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff's
Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and the Michigan State Police.

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