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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

FY- 03-11
Andrew L. Lluberes/Tom Hill

Immediate Release

16, 2003


- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) took an unprecedented
step forward today with the dedication of its new National Laboratory Center,
which will significantly enhance ATF's crime-fighting capabilities.

state-of the-art facility, located in Ammendale, Maryland, combines a forensic
science laboratory, a fire research lab, and an alcohol and tobacco lab in one
location. The facility will provide the scientific support to law enforcement,
which in many instances is crucial in perfecting criminal cases in federal, state
and local courts. The alcohol and tobacco lab is operated by the Department of
the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and will provide
a national testing center for products such as alcohol and tobacco to ensure compliance
with public health and safety issues.

National Laboratory Center personnel are key players in our law enforcement investigations.
They fill-in the pieces of the puzzle which permit our law enforcement personnel
to link evidence used in criminal activity to suspects," ATF Acting Director
Bradley A. Buckles said. "The forensic analyses conducted here arm law enforcement
with the scientific underpinnings to build solid criminal cases. Cases built on
sound scientific evidence increase the odds that law enforcement officials can
take criminals off our streets and put them behind bars."

added: "One need look no further than the sniper investigation to see how
well our lab employees have done their jobs, whatever the circumstances. The forensic
firearms expertise provided by the lab in the sniper case played a major role
in the apprehension of the two sniper suspects now in custody."

for the facility was initiated by Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD).

home to a state-of-the-art National Laboratory Center in Maryland, the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives will be able to conduct a variety
of scientific activities to help state and local law enforcement agencies reduce
violent crime and protect the public," Hoyer said. "ATF has been an
integral authority and provided critical evidence in the recent sniper shootings
that plagued our region. This facility will afford ATF the space required for
its high level scientists and technical specialists to perform this vital work."

center has three components:

  • Forensic
    Science Laboratory, which evaluates evidence obtained in crimes involving firearms,
    bombings and suspected arson incidents.
  • Fire
    Research Laboratory, the first facility in the world dedicated to fire scene investigations,
    including the ability to reconstruct fire scenes to determine how fires begin
    and spread.
  • Alcohol
    and Tobacco Laboratory, of the Department of the Treasury's Alcohol and Tobacco
    Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which conducts chemical, physical and instrumental
    analyses to support illicit alcohol and tobacco trade investigations, ensures
    collection of taxes due and product safety for consumers.

cutting-edge facility provides the equipment needed to match the long-recognized
expertise of our Alcohol and Tobacco lab personnel," stated TTB Administrator
Arthur J. Libertucci.

ATF National Laboratory Center was built under the direction of the General Services
Administration (GSA) on a 35-acre site, close to the University of Maryland. This
site will further enhance partnerships sharing training, engineering expertise
and knowledge in physical/fire sciences and forensic investigation areas. The
Ammendale, Maryland, facility replaces the ATF Rockville, Maryland facility.

addition to ATF and GSA, the project team included Higgins Development Partners
of Chicago, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. of Baltimore, and the architectural
firm of Kallman, McKinnell and Wood of Boston.

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