The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced today the establishment of its Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence, located on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus.
The Center of Excellence will be a model for the use of crime gun intelligence (CGI) in supporting law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. It will serve as a home for the National Crime Gun Intelligence Governing Board.
Established in 2016, the board leverages the collective experience of local, state and federal experts working in forensics, law enforcement and criminal law to ensure ATF receives valuable input on national programs relating to CGI.
The partnership supports Wichita State’s priorities to fuel the talent pipeline in the region and diversify and boost the state’s economy through innovative education.
“Wichita State’s strategic partnerships with industry and government agencies stimulate job growth for our region and help our students gain valuable hands-on learning experiences,” said Dr. Rick Muma, president of Wichita State.
The center will not only serve as a national model of support to law enforcement agencies across the U.S., but it will also bring unique applied learning opportunities to WSU students, including teaching them to process evidence and generate intelligence, as well as the cutting-edge investigative processes now seen in the criminal justice field.
“The proximity of the new ATF center to the Law Enforcement Training Center, which houses WSU’s Department of Criminal Justice on our Innovation Campus, creates an applied learning trifecta for our students, giving them access to advanced education and hands-on training to prepare them for careers in public safety and law enforcement,” Muma said.
Digital transformation in action
The Center of Excellence will also serve as a second national correlation center for the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. NIBIN is the only national network that allows for the 3D imaging and comparison of ballistic evidence recovered from crime scenes.
The current NIBIN National Correlation and Training Center, located in Huntsville, Alabama, conducts approximately 1,700 correlations per day for law enforcement agencies nationwide. This second center, NNCTC-II, will allow ATF to expand its free correlation services to additional law enforcement agencies, resulting in more investigative leads for ATF’s partners.
This part of the collaboration directly aligns with the university’s efforts in digital transformation through ballistic correlation, which is a method using data captured from ballistic evidence to confirm whether a firearm was used in multiple crimes.
The Center of Excellence will provide a myriad of training in CGI. It will serve as a national academy for the training of ATF's Intelligence Research Specialists. These specialists serve as ATF's primary source of intelligence research and evaluate data to generate leads for special agents and industry operations investigators. The center will also be home to ATF's first-ever academy for chiefs of police, highlighting CGI strategies and best practices for ATF’s local, state and tribal law enforcement partners.
“The use of crime gun intelligence is an essential tool for every criminal investigation involving firearms," said Deputy Director Marvin Richardson. “This new Crime Gun Intelligence Center of Excellence will be instrumental in expanding the use of these innovative and forward-thinking strategies by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.”
Growing WSU's relationship with ATF
For more than six years, WSU has been working in collaboration with local law enforcement and the ATF to educate, train and innovate crime gun intelligence in the country. This new partnership builds on that partnership and represents the next leap toward innovation and crime prevention through the establishment of the Center of Excellence.
Through the partnership, WSU’s criminal justice program will begin offering newly developed curriculum taught by instructors with real-world experience in crime intelligence. Utilizing the state-of-the-art NIBIN, which will be located in the Law Enforcement Training Center at WSU, these programs will be the first of their kind in the nation.
The new center will be located inside the Innovation Campus partnership building located north of the new NetApp headquarters.