Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives expands in Huntsville

WAAY 31 took a tour of the new facility.

Posted: Apr 10, 2019 6:29 PM
Updated: Apr 10, 2019 6:58 PM

WAAY 31 got a look at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) training center in Huntsville.

The bureau showed us how it's processing evidence, helping solve crimes and working with agencies across the country.

David Wiley is a K-9 handler for ATF. His dog, Ranger, works to find shell casing that the bureau can process. He is one of 30 dogs with the unique task that works with the agency. The shell casings Ranger finds are process through the bureau's network.

"With his training, we can make it to where we can use the technology to find the shell casings to enter it into the NIBIN system," Wiley said.

NIBIN is the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

A team of more than 60 contractors is using that network in Huntsville to analyze cartridge cases from gun crimes that are entered into the system at 45 different sites around the country.

"They are a huge part of every investigation going on right now," said Meredith Acosta, who oversees the team.

The bureau said local agencies can send their gun cartridges to be processed and then the inputted information will be sent to the center in Huntsville.

"They can ship those cartridges directly to the Atlanta laboratory, and they will then provide results once they have been acquired," said Walter Dandridge, who works with the Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

The bureau said it started using this technology in 1993, and it's progressed tremendously over the years.

"The NIBIN will tell you where the gun was used, and the tracing center will tell you where the gun has been, where it was sold, who bought it and if it was transferred to anyone else," Dandridge said.

The center is expecting to double in size and add about 60 more contractors to its team by October. The grand opening for the center will be on Thursday.

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