Monroe County Crime Lab Recognized By ATF

June 21st, 2023

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MCCL reaches milestone with ATF’s National Integrated Ballistics Information Network

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Monroe County Executive Adam Bello is pleased to announce that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has recognized the Monroe County Crime Lab for successfully reaching 4,000 leads added to the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (N.I.B.I.N.). County Executive Bello was joined today by Crime Lab Director John Clark and local law enforcement leaders to accept the award from representatives of the ATF.

“The Monroe County Crime Lab is a critical tool and partner for our local and national law enforcement agencies, particularly as we have experienced an increase in gun violence over the last several years,” said County Executive Bello. “Thanks to the efforts of the Crime Lab team, we have significantly increased the speed at which images are entered and evaluated and investigative leads are sent out to investigators, helping to bring justice to victims and families in our community.”

The ATF operates the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (N.I.B.I.N.). This network contains a database that law enforcement agencies and crime laboratories enter ballistic images into, including evidence cartridge cases recovered from crime scenes and test- fired cartridge cases from illegal firearms recovered by the police. Once an image is entered into the database, the N.I.B.I.N. system performs a search of the database for possible leads or links. Once a search is complete, firearms examiners from crime laboratories or specially trained N.I.B.I.N. technicians review the correlation results to determine if there are links between different shooting incidents or between a recovered firearm and a shooting. These links are referred to as investigative leads.

“NIBIN is a key part of ATF NY's Violent Crime Reduction Strategy. NIBIN embodies the collaboration of law enforcement for the sole purpose of identifying and prosecuting those who prey upon our communities. Its effectiveness hinges upon the timely entry of ballistic evidence, referrals, and investigative follow up. This program embodies teamwork, collaboration, and transparency,” said ATF NY's Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bryan DiGirolamo. “ATF is committed to help our partners leverage cutting edge tools like NIBIN to combat violent crime. Scientists at the Lab have worked hard to make the NIBIN program successful. ATF is proud to present hard-earned and well-deserved

recognition. Day in and day out they are focused on using science to promote justice. Rochester’s families are safer due to their work.”

The Monroe County Crime Lab provides analytical, scientific, and other forensic and administrative support to law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system. Formed in 1961, the MCCL is a regional forensic laboratory that serves the City of Rochester, Monroe County and Genesee and Livingston counties.

Recognizing the uptick in workload stemming from the rise in local gun violence, County Executive Bello’s 2022 budget added two full-time positions in the Lab’s firearms section. These additional hires helped the laboratory achieve 1,780 investigative leads made through the N.I.B.I.N. database in 2022, the Crime Lab’s single highest yearly total. The Crime Lab has produced 1,175 investigative leads for January 2023 through May 2023 and is on pace to surpass its record total from 2022.

“The firearms section of our crime laboratory works every day to fulfill the investigative and court related requests from our customers. The addition of the two new firearms examiners has enabled the lab to meet those requests while producing additional information for investigators through the ATF’s National Integrated Ballistics Information Network,” said Monroe County Crime Lab Director John Clark. “A big part of our success with N.I.B.I.N. is also the result of our partnership with the Rochester Police Department and the ATF. This partnership, along with the two new positions, has allowed us to increase entries into the database which has also increased the number of leads we’ve been able to find in the N.I.B.I.N. database.”

The firearms section of the Monroe County Crime Laboratory has handled an average of 1,000 case assignments per year since 2000. However, in 2020 there were 1,588 submissions and in 2021 there were 1,934. Each of these case assignments can typically contain multiple items of evidence, including firearms, unfired ammunition, fired bullets (projectiles) and fired cartridge cases.

The Monroe County Crime Lab has produced significant investigative leads to help law enforcement officers solve crimes and prosecutors bring justice to victims and their families. Recently, a 9mm caliber semiautomatic pistol was test fired by crime lab personnel, the results of which linked the firearm to 11 different shooting incidents. Another example includes a .40 caliber “ghost gun” that was test fired by the crime lab’s firearms section and linked to 11 different shootings, three of which are homicides. In another example, the crime lab test fired a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that was linked to 18 different shooting incidents.

“Today’s recognition by the ATF is a testimonial to the outstanding work that the Monroe County Crime Lab provides on a daily basis,” said Chief Deputy Michael Fowler of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. “These dedicated lab professionals perform critical scientific analysis of forensic evidence that is vital to our efforts to reduce crime and violence in our communities. We are proud to acknowledge Director Clark and his staff for their significant contributions.”

“Today’s recognition of the Monroe County Crime Lab is well deserved,” said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “As prosecutors, we cannot do our job without the dedicated employees at the crime lab. Behind the scenes, these men and women do everything they can to analyze evidence, from running ballistics to conducting forensic services. Because of the high volume of weapons seized since 2020, the crime lab continues to be inundated with requests from my office and law enforcement agencies. These public servants never cease to help us prove beyond a reasonable doubt what occurred during a crime. Thank you to the ATF for this acknowledgment of the Monroe County Crime Lab and the excellent work of the dedicated scientists and employees.”