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High Point Police: ballistics technology will help investigate crimes

Police say the technology could help match shell casings together and connect the dots when it comes to different crimes.

When High Point Police respond to a crime scene, they talk to witnesses and collect evidence.

High Point Police Assistant Chief Travis Stroud says sometimes, not enough information will come from the crime scene itself, and all that’s left is forensic evidence.

“A lot of those were shell casings,” he said.

So now, to take scenarios like that one step further, Stroud says Integrated Ballistics Identification System, or IBIS, would be a good idea.

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“In 2019 we collected over 2,700 of these [shell casings] out of the streets and various scenes. That’s a lot of evidence for us to pick apart and unpack and figure out and that can lead us to different crimes,” said Stroud.

The technology takes 2D and 3D photographs of shell casings. Stroud says once those images are uploaded, it’s sent to the National Integrated Ballistics Network, and may be matched to shell casings from other cases.

“Every gun leaves what’s called a signature on the shell casing. They’re very unique to each weapon,” said  Stroud.

Stroud says right now High Point Police use the technology Greensboro Police and Winston-Salem Police have, but they’d like to have their own in-house at the High Point Police Department.

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“We feel like it’s important enough that we want to get turn around on our cases. Hits can come back in a matter of two days,” he said.

As far as cost goes, Stroud estimated a machine like this would likely cost more than $150,000, and the department isn’t necessarily ready to buy it just yet.

“There’s several different pieces of the puzzle that we have to put in place before you just buy a piece of equipment,” he said.

“Now we’re looking at all kinds of funding options, anything we can get grant related to help pull that cost down and put it into it we will,” he said.

However, he says if and when they do, the police department is ready and willing to help their neighbors crackdown on crime, too. 

"Our criminals are Greensboro’s criminals, Winston-Salem's criminals. Thomasville, Lexington, anywhere in Guilford county. Our bad guys are their bad guys," he said. 

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