INDIANAPOLIS — The push to connect guns to the people pulling the trigger is key to police efforts to solve and cut violent crimes, as weapons police recover are sent to the Marion County Crime Lab.
In 2019, the lab-processed 3,124 weapons, and in 2018 it was 2,796 weapons. Through several forensic tests, detectives are alerted if a gun used in a crime is connected to another.
In the past, that information could take weeks; now, the results can come back as quickly as 48 hours.
So far, the center has tested thousands of guns, leading to hundreds of arrests. Every time a gun is shot, criminals leave behind evidence which the crime lab is piecing together.
Through a series of forensic tests, detectives are alerted if a gun used in one crime is connected to another.
"Our detectives start working backward to find who is the trigger puller," Chris Bailey, assistant chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said.
The lab plays a critical role as part of the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, which includes, to a name a few agencies, the ATF, U.S.Attorney's Office, Marion County Prosecutor's Office, and the Fisher's Police Department.
"Fishers police recovered a gun that was used in a 2013 homicide — we got info quicker — its not info we would have gotten back in a timely manner under the old ways of doing things," Bailey said. "It's a game-changer for the city of Indianapolis."
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 have shown an interest in this effort, including police agencies in Cincinnati; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Crime Gun Intelligence Center has officially been up and running since January 2019.