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Jacksonville Mayor Pushes For New Gun Tracking Technology

CurryGuns.jpg
Ryan Benk
/
WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is asking the city council to approve emergency funding for new gun identification technology.

The Integrated Ballistic Identification System uses a shell casing’s “fingerprint” to track down a shooter faster than ever. The new tech is expected to cost the city $250,000.

Surrounded by law enforcement, city council members and members of the JAX Chamber, Curry issued a stern warning to would-be criminals.

“If you’re stupid enough to commit a crime in this city, specifically with a gun, this group of people are organized and together and are coming after you,” he said.

The technology, called IBIS for short, is connected to a national database called the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network.

IBIS records the impressions on bullet casings found at crime scenes and matches them to firearms using the national database. Each spent cartridge has a unique imprint from gun’s firing pin.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement already uses the technology, and local law enforcement sends their casings to the state office for analysis

But State Attorney Melissa Nelson said having IBIS at the local level will streamline the investigative process.

“Right now when ballistic evidence is submitted to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, (Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office) or other regional law enforcement can ask for a rush, but they have to prioritize cases … having JSO have custody of it will allow,once they’ve trained, their folks to collect ballistic evidence from scenes and have a turnaround, rather than months, of 24 to 48 hours,” she said.

Jacksonville officials, including the mayor, will be visiting Denver in April to see how that police department has implemented the technology.

Since the program first came online in 1999, more than 150 city or state law enforcement offices have implemented the technology, including Chicago, Phoenix and Seattle.

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Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, 904-358-6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.

Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.