The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosivesí
National Integrated Ballistic Information Network Program

Audit Report 05-30
June 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix XII

How NIBIN Searches are Used
by NIBIN Partner Agencies We Visited

Partner Agency Visited Response on Searches Used
Minneapolis Police Department Manual searches are very seldom performed and only if other localities ask for it. A national search has never been performed, but if the opportunity arises, the department will conduct it.
New Orleans Police Department Only one regional search has been done at the request of another agency. No other national or regional searches have been requested.
Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory The local search, which is automatically performed, is always used. However, no law enforcement agency has requested regional or national search options. If such a request were made, the options would be used.
Boston Police Department The local search is used because of the automatic comparison. The regional search and national search options are seldom used because crimes generally occur in the area where the suspect is arrested and the evidence is recovered. Regional or national searches are done when case agents have specific evidence that: (1) suspects are from a different part of the United States, and (2) a crime was committed in another part of the United States.
Omaha Police Department Crime Laboratory Local searches have been done. The agency could not demonstrate how to perform a national search.
Denver Police Department Manual searches, either regionally or nationally, are rarely done. Some regional searches and only one national search have been done, and those types of searches are only done upon request.
New Mexico Department of Public Safety A regional search has been done. On one occasion, a national search was done as a result of a request, but this is very rare. This national search was arranged by the ATF and Forensic Technology, Inc.
Houston Police Department Only local searches are performed.
Tulsa Police Department Only local searches are performed because most “hits” are going to be local and it is too cumbersome to do national searches.
Detroit Police Department Forensic Services Crime Laboratory Manual searches have been done for Indiana. A high-confidence candidate resulted from one of the images found, and as a result, a manual search and side-by-side comparison were done. In addition, some manual searches have been done for Highland Park, Michigan.
Mississippi State Crime Laboratory Searches are performed both regionally and nationally.
Allegheny County (PA) Coroner’s Office Forensic Laboratory Division Manual searches are done regionally and nationally. If the staff knows the firearms evidence is from an outside resident, an effort is made to search outside the automatic search. Also, if evidence was entered on one date, and additional evidence is entered on another date, a manual search is performed to double check for hits.
Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory – Tacoma Local searches are always used for comparing firearms evidence, but regional and national search options are often used when state and local law enforcement agencies make specific requests.
Indiana/Marion County Forensic Laboratory Regional searches are always performed. National searches have never been performed.
Charlotte Police Department Local searches are performed as the default setting; which is for the locations within their respective partitions.
Hickory (NC) Police Department Searches are performed within the respective regions. In one instance, a national search was done for the Philadelphia Police Department. However, national searches are not performed regularly and only upon request or if there is a particular lead.
ATF Laboratory – Ammendale (MD) Whenever federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies submit a case for entry into NIBIN, the lead investigator informs the technicians of the type of search to make. Almost all searches are made against the local partitions.
Prince George ’s County (MD) Police Department Searches are not performed outside of the local partition because the agency did not know how to initiate the regional or national search. Since 2003, there have been two instances where the agency needed to use the national search feature. In both instances, the ATF Ammendale Laboratory was requested to perform the national searches.
ATF Laboratory – Atlanta Searches are performed locally. Generally, case agents request nationwide searches.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation – Decatur Local searches are always performed. National searches are done upon request.
Los Angeles Police Department The system automatically performs local searches. Regional and national searches are performed upon the case agents’ request.
Erie County (NY) Forensic Laboratory Local searches are always performed. Regional and national searches are performed upon the case agents’ request.
 Source: Interviews with Partner Agency Officials

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