Criminal investigators in Ohio are getting help from the feds to solve crimes
Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said the state's crime fighting efforts are improving thanks to a partnership that can help law enforcement analyze ballistic evidence faster.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) will now have a direct link to the National Correlation and Training Center — a part of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Yost said this will allow BCI to gain quick access to ATF’s library of 4.5 million pieces of ballistic evidence, called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). It's the only automated interstate ballistic imaging network in the U.S.
“Ballistics are more like fingerprints than DNA. They are not necessarily tied to an individual but they can give us valuable clues. Ballistics help generate leads,” Yost said.
Yost said it would also make it easier to determine if evidence gathered from crimes here in Ohio matches evidence used in crimes committed in other states.
"Right now, in order to do a national database search, we have multiple manual steps that have to be taken and multiple applications. By being tied directly to the correlation center, that becomes automated," Yost said.
Yost said certain cities in Ohio already have direct links to the ATF's correlation center.
Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo are those that are already connected. Because of that link, those cities prioritize their own cases. This new change will allow BCI to provide these services to the entire state. The partnership with ATF will also mean it will allow for evidence to be processed more quickly.
“Criminals know no borders — they intentionally move illegal guns out of state to avoid law enforcement,” Yost said.
Yost said now that BCI has a direct link to the correlation center, state investigators will be able to fill in the holes and support law enforcement in all areas of the state.
Yost made the announcement of this expansion at a BCI laboratory in Richfield. In late March, Yost and Gov. Mike DeWine announced BCI is receiving $9.2 million in grant funding for the purchase of five additional NIBIN machines, to be housed at BCI laboratories in London, Bowling Green, and Richfield.