• ATF assisting overworked, understaffed state crime lab in Mississippi

    By: Greg Coy


    Help is coming for the overworked and understaffed state crime lab in Mississippi. 

    FOX13 learned the ATF is helping to increase the number of local detectives trained in ballistics and NIBIN. 

    ORIGINAL STORY: Staffing issues leading to critical backlog at Mississippi Crime Lab

    This will ease some of the burden on the crime lab and help catch violent criminals. 

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    It gives detectives access to a powerful tool to catch armed criminals by tracing a shell casing to the gun, which can lead to the shooter. 

    "When we have had murders, and you have had to wait, I mean three or four or five months and the victims’ family members or frustrated and upset," said Carolyn McAdams, mayor of Greenwood, Miss.

    The ATF NIBIN van in Greenwood is one of only two in the country.

    Detectives learning how to enter data into NIBIN not only helps their department catch criminals, but also the crime lab – which has a backlog of cases to investigate.

    "We only have four or five firearms examiners for the entire state of Mississippi. So, this tremendously expands our stretch throughout the state in helping with investigations," said Sam Howell, director of the crime lab.

    Officers are being trained to begin an investigation about the weapon used on their own, not waiting to catch the person who pulled the trigger.

    The ATF NIBIN van usually stays in the delta, but ATF will bring it to anywhere in the state if asked.

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