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Criminal investigators in Ohio are getting help from the feds to solve crimes

 evidence used in a crime
Ohio Attorney General's office
evidence used in a crime

Attorney General Dave Yost says 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 says 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 says 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 says certain cities in Ohio already have direct links to the ATF's correlation center.

Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Toledo 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 says 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.
Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.