VBPD has new technology to help solve crimes involving guns – WVEC

Virginia Beach got this new technology a few months ago and forensic specialists had to train on the new equipment.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — The Virginia Beach Police Department has another tool to help them: a new piece of technology aimed at solving gun crimes.

The BrassTrax system launched at the beginning of December and uses technology to analyze shell casings and bullets found at crime scenes. It can even help investigators see if the same weapon is involved in multiple investigations.

 “We take the cartridge case we recover from a crime scene, we put it into a holder which goes into a high-resolution imaging machine that is connected to a computer and that image then gets searched in a database.”

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The international database is run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Dade Chisler, a forensic unit supervisor with the Virginia Beach Police Department, called the new technology a game-changer.

“What ultimately comes out of those are correlations basically linkages that show that this cartridge case was fired from a certain gun and it links up to a cartridge case that was collected somewhere else,” he said.

In the past couple of weeks, Chisler said specialists have used the new technology about 30 to 40 times. He said it’s already helped investigators.

“Our second cartridge case that we entered actually produced a pretty good lead for us,” he said. “It linked a double homicide of ours to six other cases in Norfolk.”

He said the BrassTrax system is just another tool in the toolbox to help solve violent crimes.

Chrisler said, “In the past, we utilized the state lab system. We would get this information back, but it was typically in preparation for court. It wasn’t so much for actionable intel early in the investigation.”

Virginia Beach Police isn’t the only department with this new technology. Chrisler said the Norfolk Police Department has one and Hampton and Newport News share one device.


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