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 III

Example Memorandum of Understanding Between
the ATF and the NIBIN Partner Agencies

Between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and
the Agency Name Regarding the
National Integrated Ballistic Information Network

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is entered into by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the (Agency Name), hereinafter collectively referred to as "the parties." The MOU establishes and defines a partnership between the parties that will result in the installation, operation, and administration of ATF integrated ballistics imaging systems for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of crime gun data through ATF's National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) Program at the Agency.


This MOU is established pursuant to the authority of the participants to engage in activities related to the investigation and suppression of violent crimes involving firearms. ATF's authority is derived from, among other things, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (as amended), 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44.


Violent crimes are being committed with firearms in the United States . A firearm leaves unique, identifiable characteristics on expelled ammunition. Firearms, expended bullets, and cartridge casings associated with crimes are currently being collected and maintained as evidence by law enforcement agencies. The ATF NIBIN Program assists Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in combating firearms-related violence through the use of Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS) technology to compare images of ballistic evidence (projectiles and cartridge casings) obtained from crime scenes and recovered firearms.


Participation in this program is expressly restricted to the ballistic imaging of firearms data associated with crimes. NIBIN equipment provided and deployed by ATF to other Federal, State, or local law authorities may be used only for imaging of ballistic evidence and test fires of firearms taken into law enforcement custody.

NIBIN equipment deployed by ATF to Federal, state, or local authorities shall not be used to capture or store ballistic images acquired at the point of manufacture, importation, sale, law enforcement issued firearms not associated with crimes. Nothing in this MOU shall preclude State or local parties from capturing or storing such information in local ballistic imaging systems, provided that such local imaging systems shall not be connected to NIBIN without ATF's specific written approval, which must be consistent with current ATF authorization and appropriations restrictions and policy.


The applicable statutes, regulations, directives and procedures of the United States, DOJ, and ATF shall govern this MOU and all documents and actions pursuant to it.

Nothing in this MOU will prevail over any Federal law, regulation, or other Federal rule recognized by ATF.

This MOU does not grant any funding whatsoever. All specific actions agreed to herein shall be subject to funding and administrative or legislative approvals.


This MOU shall not affect any pre-existing or independent relationships or obligations between the parties. If any provision of this MOU is determined to be invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions shall remain in force and unaffected to the fullest extent permitted by law and regulation.

Except as provided herein, this MOU may be modified or amended only by written, mutual agreement of the parties. Either party may terminate this MOU by providing written notice to the other party. The termination shall be effective upon the thirtieth calendar day following notice, unless a later date is agreed upon.

If either party terminates this MOU, ATF will retain its interest in the NIBIN equipment and in the electronically stored information contained in the database. ATF agrees to provide to (Agency Name) an electronic copy of the data collected by (Agency Name).


The Appendix to this MOU includes definitions of terms used; requirements concerning NIBIN equipment; usage, movement, and removal of the equipment; Rapid Brass Identification (RBI) users and host Data Acquisition System (DAS) sites; maintenance of the equipment; security requirements; audits; personnel and training; and coordination of NIBIN efforts. Because these requirements may change over time due to technological advances, ;security enhancements, budgetary matters, and so forth, the Appendix may be occasionally updated. Parties to the MOU agree and understand that the Appendix is incorporated by reference as if fully stated herein. Execution of the MOU constitutes agreement to abide by the requirements and protocols set forth in the Appendix.


The terms and conditions of this MOU will be considered accepted in their entirety upon the signature by ATF Division Director (SAC Name) and (LE Exec :Name), (LE Exec Title), representing (Agency Name).


The (Agency Name) hereby agrees to assume full and sole liability for any damage, injury, or harm of any sort caused by the operation and use of any NIBIN equipment or related to the use and interpretation of any information contained in, processed by, or extracted from any data base subject to this agreement and the protocols and procedures of the, NIBIN Program.

No third party is intended to benefit or otherwise claim any rights whatsoever under this MOU. The rights and obligations set out in the MOU run between the signatories to this MOU only.


ATF and the (Agency Name) hereby agree to abide by the terms and conditions of this MOU, including any appendices, and all policies of the NIBIN Program.

In witness thereof, the parties have hereby executed this MOU this _______ day of _____________, ______.

(SAC Name)
Division Director
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms and Explosives
(Field Division) Field Division
(LE Exec Name)
(LE Exec Title)
(Agency Name)

Patricia L. Galupo, Director, NIBIN Program
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Washington, DC



ATF - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a bureau within DOJ.

Bullets - Designated calibers of projectiles fired from rifles, revolvers and pistols.

Cartridge Casings - Designated metal casings from cartridges fired from rifles and revolvers and ejected from pistols.

Correlation - Automated data comparison of signature images to a database.

Crime Gun - A firearm that has been taken into police custody pursuant to a bonafide law enforcement investigation.

IBIS System - Any and all portions of an integrated/automated ballistic image processing system specifically defined as Integrated Ballistics Identification System (IBIS). This includes all the hardware and software that performs the complete function and/or generates data reports of results on the comparison of images of ballistic evidence (bullets and cartridge casings) obtained from crime scenes and recovered firearms.

NIBIN Equipment - Refers to integrated ballistics imaging, analysis, and information processing equipment wholly owned and provided by ATF.

NIBIN Network - An ATF designed and maintained system of interconnected computer systems and terminals used in support of the NIBIN Program and the IBIS System.

NIBIN Program - The management and administration of NIBIN, including the installation and utilization of the NIBIN equipment.

Security Requirements - Types and levels of protection necessary for equipment, data, information, applications, and facilities to meet security policies.

Security Policies - The set of laws, rules, directives and practices that regulate how an organization manage, protects and distributes controlled information.

Volunteers - Individuals who have chosen to perform gratuitous services and have entered into an agreement with the local NIBIN partner agency addressing all issues of confidentiality, costs and a waiver of all claims against the Federal government.

The (Agency Name) hereby agrees and acknowledges that an NIBIN equipment installed Flu maintained by ATF shall remain the property of ATF and the U.S. Government.

ATF agrees to provide, install and maintain NIBIN equipment to the (Agency Name) for use by the (Agency Name) and any other law enforcement agencies served by or in partnership a with the; (Agency Name). The (Agency Name) may provide access to the NIBIN equipment under its operational control to any other law enforcement agency only pursuant to a written agreement in which such other law enforcement agency agrees to the same restrictions placed upon the (Agency Name) by this MOU. However, the (Agency Name) agrees to assume full liability and responsibility for the administration of such access.

Should the installation of the NIBIN equipment require physical construction at the site, (Agency Name) will be responsible for such construction and any costs associated therein.


Any movement of the NIBIN equipment after the initial installation must be accomplished with prior written approval of ATF and at the expense of the (Agency Name).

In the event of unauthorized movement, alteration, damage, or destruction of any NIBIN equipment caused by its employees, contractors, or any other person under its control, the (Agency Name) agrees to assume the cost of replacement or repairs of the equipment.

The (Agency Name) agrees to report to ATF, within 5 working days, any incident involving an unauthorized movement, alteration, damage, or destruction of ATF‑owned NIBIN equipment; any unauthorized use of NIBIN equipment; or the unauthorized release of data related to the NIBIN Program.


ATF will provide and support primary communication lines necessary for connecting NIBIN equipment to the NIBIN network. The (Agency Name) agrees to assume complete liability and responsibility for the installation, use, and maintenance of any ancillary communication lines supporting an RBI system under its control.


ATF will maintain all NIBIN equipment furnished to the (Agency Name) and repair or replace inoperable or outdated equipment in an expeditious manner, subject to availability and funding. However, maintenance and repairs required as the result of unauthorized movement, alteration, damage, or destruction will not be assumed by ATF. The (Agency Name) agrees not to make or cause to be made any repairs, alterations, movements, additions, improvements, replacements, etc. to the NIBIN equipment not expressly authorized by ATF in advance, and further agrees to exercise due care in every respect to prevent movement, damage, destruction, or misuse of the equipment.

ATF further agrees to provide appropriate upgrades to the NIBIN equipment or related software in an expeditious manner, subject to availability and funding.


The (Agency Name) will comply with all ATF, DOJ or other Federal security requirements related to the NIBIN equipment, NIBIN program, personnel, or NIBIN network. These requirements are set forth under NIBIN security policies. ATF will promptly notify the (Agency Name) should these requirements change.

The (Agency Name) agrees to conduct criminal background checks, including fingerprint checks, on all users of NIBIN DAS and RBI equipment. Upon successful completion of these background checks, (Agency Name) will notify the NIBIN Office in writing, verifying that the user is cleared, at least 30 days before the user is given access to the equipment.


ATF retains the right to remove the NIBIN equipment upon (1) its determination that the equipment is being neglected or misused; (2) or is not being used to a reasonable degree; (3) receipt of written notification of the termination of the participation of the (Agency Name) in the NIBIN Program; (4) termination of the NIBIN Program by ATF; (5) the cancellation of this MOU by ATF; or (6) failure to comply with any obligations or requirements set forth in this MOU. If ATF intends to remove the NIBIN equipment from the (Agency Name), ATF will provide written notice not less than 10 business days prior to the removal of the equipment.


ATF and the (Agency Name) acknowledge their understanding, that the operations described in this MOU are subject to audit by ATF; the Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General; the General Accounting Office; and other auditors designated by the U.S. Government.

Such audits may include reviews of any and all records, documents, reports, accounts, invoices, receipts, or other evidence of expenditures related to this MOU and the NIBIN Program.

Further, all parties hereby agree to allow auditors to conduct one or more in-person interviews of any and all personnel the auditors have determined may have knowledge relevant to transactions performed or other matters involving this MOU and the NIBIN Program.

The (Agency Name) hereby acknowledges its understanding that, for accounting purposes, the principles and standards for determining costs shall be governed by the policies set forth in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87, revised (available via the OMB, the Superintendent of Documents at the U.S. Government Printing Office, or via the Internet at


Prior to the execution of this MOU and Data Acquisition System/Remote (DAS/R) installation, the (Agency Name) must have a technical person on staff capable of performing forensic microscopic comparison of bullet and cartridge evidence. The Agency agrees to provide sufficient personnel to operate NIBIN equipment. This MOU should not be construed to require the hiring of any new personnel, except at the discretion of the (Agency Name). If the (Agency Name) determines that additional personnel resources are required, all costs associated with this hiring will be borne by Agency. Volunteers must satisfy the ;same requirements as other users of the NIBIN equipment, and be properly trained, qualified and approved in advance by ATF.

The (Agency Name) will ensure that only trained, cleared and qualified personnel operate the ATF-owned NIBIN equipment and that only trained and qualified instructors use the NIBIN equipment for the training of new personnel. Training must be conducted by ATF or ATF authorized personnel.

Use of the NIBIN equipment will be under the management and control of the (Agency Name).

Contingent on sufficient funding, ATF agrees to provide training for users of the NIBIN equipment at the discretion of ATF.


The (Agency Name) shall enter bullets and cartridge cases related to crimes recovered by law enforcement into the NIBIN system. Because the NIBIN Program focuses on the reduction of firearms-related violent crimes such as homicides and assaults, ATF particularly encourages the (Agency Name) to enter ballistic images of evidence recovered from violent crime scenes into the NIBIN system.

ATF also encourages inclusion of all test-fired evidence from seized firearms. In addition, because certain calibers (including .25 auto, .32 auto, .380 auto, 9mm, .38/.357, 10mm/.40 S&W, and .45 auto) make up the vast majority of crime guns, the (Agency Name) will image as much recovered and test-fired evidence from such firearms as is practical. Nothing in the MOU precludes the (Agency Name) from entering test-fired evidence from firearms of additional calibers.


ATF and the (Agency Name) agree to adhere to standardized procedures and policies for collecting, handling, documenting, transporting, and preserving firearms, bullets, casings, and any similar evidence submitted for analysis and input into the NIBIN equipment.

ATF and the (Agency Name) similarly agree to adhere to standardized procedures and policies for the source data collection, input, exchange, and protection of information, to include information as to the location where ballistics evidence was collected, the circumstances under which it was collected, and all crimes to which the firearm(s) or other ballistics evidence is linked.

ATF and (Agency Name) agree to cooperate in the development and implementation of data entry protocols and quality assurance procedures for the NIBIN Program. ATF further agrees to cooperate with all participants in the NIBIN Program to establish model standards, protocols, and procedures for the users of the network equipment and system. Such protocols will be applicable as they are implemented.

The (Agency Name) will require all participating law enforcement agencies to adhere to the protocols, procedures, policies, and quality assurance standards as established above.

The (Agency Name) agrees to provide ATF with monthly reports outlining historical, statistical, and case adjudication information on the use, and results of the use, of the NIBIN equipment and the related services provided by ATF and the manufacturer of the equipment. Additionally, the (Agency Name) agrees to provide ATF with an estimate of the overall percentage of recovered and test-fired evidence available that was entered into the NIBIN system at the end of each calendar year. Such information will be gathered for the purpose of informing the law enforcement community, other Government agencies, Congress; and the public on the successes of the NIBIN Program. Additionally, ATF will use the information to attempt to collect data for results-oriented performance measures.

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