La Plata, MD – December 31, 2019 – Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry and the members of the CCSO Forensic Science Unit are pleased to announce the Agency is now utilizing the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) – a program managed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The NIBIN program automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely manner by allowing forensic examiners to compare ballistic evidence to crimes throughout the region. “Being able to use the NIBIN system will expedite our investigations and quickly help us determine if cases could be linked, thus providing more clues to unsolved crimes,” said Sheriff Berry.   

According to Ms. Noelle Gehrman, Deputy Director of the Agency’s Forensic Science Unit, “NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving crimes involving firearms. It is a resource that is vital to any violent crime reduction strategy because it provides investigators with the ability to compare their ballistics evidence against evidence from other crimes on a local, regional and national level and possibly generate investigative links that would rarely be revealed absent the technology.”

Prior to the NIBIN program, firearms examiners performed this process manually which was extremely labor intensive. To use NIBIN, firearms examiners or technicians enter cartridge casing evidence into the Integrated Ballistic Identification System. These images are correlated against the database. “This program is one of many investigative tools accessed by investigators that allows each of us to share information making all of us more effective in closing cases,” said Gehrman.

“It took us nearly three years to get this program up and running and I am excited that we can bring this level of technology to our agency and our county. We truly appreciate the ATF and Maryland State Police for their guidance in helping us bring this to fruition,” said Lt. Erica Budd, a former supervisor of the Forensic Science Unit.
“NIBIN is a great resource for us all, producing relevant intelligence for investigators and providing a better chance to identify and arrest suspects. This network will give us a head start,” said Sheriff Berry. Currently, six members of the Agency’s Forensic Science Unit are trained to complete NIBIN acquisitions. 

PHOTO: from left to right: Captain Joseph Pratta (Commander, Criminal Investigations Division), Noelle Gehrman (Deputy Director, FSU), and PFC David Sylvestre (FSU Technician).