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Marion County Crime Lab works to connect to weapons to crimes

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Posted at 5:34 PM, Jan 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-10 17:37:50-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Every time a gun is shot, criminals leave behind evidence for law enforcement to piece together.

Weapons police recover come to the Marion County Crime Lab. Through a series of forensic tests, detectives are alerted if a gun used in one crime is connected to another.

In the past, that information could take weeks to gather, but now the results come back in a few days.

"Our detectives start working backwards to find who is the trigger puller," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department assistant chief Chris Bailey said.

The lab plays a critical role as part of the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which began operating in January 2019 and includes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Marion County Prosecutor's Office and the Fishers Police Department. The center has tested thousands of guns leading to hundreds of arrests.

"Fishers police recovered a gun that was used in a 2013 homicide. We got info quicker. It's not info we would have gotten back in a timely manner under the old ways of doing things. It's a game changer for the City of Indianapolis," Bailey said.

Based on the combined efforts of law enforcement so far, there have been 339 arrests connected to 254 weapons.

"Their whole goal is to disrupt the shooting cycle," Bailey said. "The quicker we can get the person or gun off the street we prevent the next shooting."

Other cities, including Cincinnati, Albuquerque, N.M. and Milwaukee, Wis., have shown an interest in the program.