4 new ballistics testing machines coming to New Mexico to help solve gun crimes



(The Center Square) – The technology used by the Albuquerque Police Department to crack high-profile gun cases will soon be available statewide.

The federal government will fund four new specialty machines to help New Mexico law enforcement officials track shell casings found at crime scenes.

“I think probably the best example of the impact that NIBIN has had, and sort of shell casing analysis has had, is the Solomon Peña case, for example,” New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez said, according to KRQE.

NBIN is short for National Integrated Ballistics Information Network. It’s a program that lets police compare bullet shell casings from a crime scene to those in a national database.

It can allow law enforcement to connect shell casings to a specific weapon, the report said.

In the Solomon Peña case, law enforcement linked the shell casings found at politicians’ homes to firearms linked to Peña.

New Mexico will soon have that same technology available statewide.

“I was able to work through the appropriations process to get funding this year for a little over a million dollars to put NIBIN machines in Farmington, Gallup, and Las Cruces, and Roswell,” U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, said, according to KRQE.

Previously, only Santa Fe and Albuquerque had these machines available, meaning law enforcement from other parts of the state had to travel there to use them.

“It’s also going to take a lot of time that should be spent on actual shoe-leather police work and put it back there,” Heinrich said in the report.

Each of the four new machines will be a part of the Attorney General’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center.

“To not only establish NIBIN machines and implement them in partnership with local law enforcement agencies but to engage in meaningful training,” Torrez said in the report.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will also aid in that training.

“We, according to the latest UCR reports, are the second most dangerous state in the United States, and according to that same data, the unsolved rate of violent crimes is nearly 75 percent,” Torrez said in the report.

Law enforcement hopes that the machines can address all of these cases. The federal funding will also pay for employees to work the NBIN machines in their first year of use.

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