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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 10, 2011


Contact: ATF Public Affairs Division

(202) 648-8500

Houser and NTC Team Named Finalist for Heyman Service to America Medal

WASHINGTON, DCATF National Tracing Center Chief Charles Houser and the NTC team was named one of 34 finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal winners at the Partnership for Public Service breakfast on Capitol Hill May 5. The finalists were honored during the May 1–7 Public Service Recognition Week by the Partnership for Public Service in celebrating excellence in our federal civil service.

Houser and the NTC team were picked as one of four finalists for the Justice and Law Enforcement Medal category. Houser was nominated for leading an expert team that traces recovered firearms to help law enforcement authorities solve violent crime.

The nomination citation states, The NTC is the country’s only facility that tracks firearms from a manufacturer to a purchaser. The center aids law enforcement in identifying suspects involved in criminal violations, detects firearms trafficking, and tracks the intrastate, interstate and international movement of crime guns.

Special Agent Houser heads the center and is credited with a quick response time to urgent trace requests from police and introducing eTrace, an Internet–based system that allows participating law enforcement agencies to submit firearm traces to the NTC and receive firearm trace results electronically.

The Justice and Law Enforcement Medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to justice and law enforcement to include civil rights, criminal justice, counterterrorism, and fraud detection and prevention.

The Heyman Medal recognizes outstanding federal workers who are making high-impact contributions critical to the health, safety and the well–being of Americans. Medal categories are: Call to Service Medal; Career Achievement Medal; Citizen Services Medal; Homeland Security Medal; Justice and Law Enforcement Medal; Management Excellence Medal; National Security and International Affairs Medal; and Science and Environment Medal.

Houser and the NTC team were nominated by Katrina Masterson, program manager of the ATF Office of Enforcement Programs and Services. The nomination for Houser and the NTC team highlights some of the extraordinary accomplishments of the NTC for fiscal years 2008–2010:

  • Performed more than 1.1 million firearms trace requests.
  • Performed approximately 20,000 urgent firearms trace requests.
  • Processed more than 30 million “out of business” records.
  • Processed more than 30,000 obliterated serial number trace requests.
  • Brought the total number of eTrace users to 21,250.
  • Brought the total number of participating agencies to 3,275.
  • Brought the total number of participating foreign countries to 31.
  • Improved the average urgent trace request from two days to less than one day.

While the NTC has performed more than 1.1 million firearms trace requests between FY 2008 and 2010, all requests were conducted manually using microfiche and paper records to comply with the Appropriations restrictions.

The finalists in the eight categories for prestigious Sammies, including Federal Employee of the Year, will be presented Sept. 15 in Washington, D.C. The Service to America Medals have earned a reputation as being the most prestigious award dedicated to celebrating America’s civil servants.