COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The city of Columbus is using hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grant money to buy additional tools to help police with shooting investigations.
City council approved the use of the money at Monday’s meeting. It’s all related to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN).
“This will help expedite the solving of crime so we can get to the bottom of whatever case they’re doing in a faster manner,” said Councilmember Emmanuel Remy, chair of the Public Safety Committee.
NIBIN is run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Steven Dettelbach, director of the ATF, was in Columbus near the end of January, where he and Mayor Andrew Ginther held a news conference to discuss strategies to reduce violent crime. NIBIN was discussed during that event.
“NIBIN automates ballistics evaluations and provides actionable investigative leads in a timely fashion,” Ginther said.
The Columbus Division of Police is currently using one of the ATF’s systems to enter certain evidence from shootings into the database, according to a division spokesperson. With the new funding, the division will be getting two of its own entrance systems. Remy said analysts will also be hired with the roughly $278,000 from the American Rescue Plan Crime Lab Backlog Grant.
“This is an important step to be part of that NIBN system and to really get solutions for some of our ballistics issues we have throughout the community,” he said.
Ginther said during the January news conference that the city would be making a $5 million commitment to NIBIN-related technologies. The recent approval of spending the grant money is part of that commitment, according to Remy. Dettelbach said that last year in Columbus, there were 3,700 investigation leads generated by NIBIN.
“That’s 3,700 tips for hard-working detectives and agents on the street to find the shooter, to find the killer,” he said in January. “The first pillar of crime gun intelligence is exactly what the mayor said, it is NIBN. NIBN plays a crucial role in the immediate aftermath of a shooting.”