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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

November 10, 2009

Contact: Michael Hoffman, Special Agent – PIO

Office: (818) 265-2507

Cell: (213) 925-4547

Santa Ana Police Department Passes 1000th ‘Hit’ Milestone Using ATF’s Ballistic Imaging Technology

Computerized Ballistic Imaging System Helps Link Multiple Shooting Scenes

SANTA ANA, Calif. — John A. Torres, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Los Angeles Field Division, announced today that Chief Paul M. Walters and his Santa Ana Police Department have been recognized for exceeding 1000 “hits” in their use of ATF’s computerized ballistic imaging system.

ATF’s National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) is a computerized ballistic imaging system that uses Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) technology and equipment to allow firearms technicians and examiners to acquire digital images of the markings made by a firearm on bullets and cartridge casings; the images then undergo automated initial comparison. If a high confidence candidate emerges, firearms examiners compare the original evidence to confirm a match. By minimizing the amount of non-matching evidence that firearms examiners must inspect to find a confirmable match, the NIBIN system enables law enforcement agencies to discover links between crimes more quickly, including links that would have been lost without the technology.

“Technology is a critical component to investigating and solving violent crime,” said Torres. “We are very pleased with the tremendous success Santa Ana has achieved with this system and look forward to further collaborative efforts to reduce crime in our communities.”

ATF currently has 214 NIBIN systems deployed to law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories across the United States. The Santa Ana Police Department has been using the NIBIN system since 2001 and currently has more hits than all but four other departments.

“Our accomplishments with NIBIN are again a direct result of our use of innovative technology, and is part of our continued commitment to provide the citizens of Santa Ana the highest level of police services available,” said Chief Walters.

In funding and supporting NIBIN, ATF provides Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies with an effective intelligence tool that many could not afford on their own. The system also makes it possible to share intelligence across jurisdictional boundaries, enabling Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies to work together to stop violent criminals.

More information about ATF and its programs is available at