JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Time is of the essence when working on criminal investigations. Onslow County’s sheriff is putting his time and money on speeding up the process with a new tool.
In October, Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller’s team became the first agency in North Carolina to use the Ballistic IQ. The gadget provides a clearer picture on used shell casings from crime scenes.
The technology magnifies on the so-called fingerprints of the bullets. It helps investigators make a link between a firearm and a crime.
“Then we might find another shell casing, at another crime and then we can say ‘OK, same pistol, same rifle, same revolver was used on both’,” Miller said.
Normally, the agency works with the state’s crime lab — but there are severe backlogs. Miller said the $19,987 tool is doing its work in as quick as two hours. Detectives can even help out surrounding agencies in its searches.
“If they have a shooting and they need evidence, then we offer to use Ballistic IQ and bring shell casings in, say ‘OK, they may be related to another agency’s homicides’,” said Miller.
Officials say no tax money was spent. The agency paid for the tool with money they seized from criminal activity, like drug-related offenses. Miller said this is a proactive approach to moving the workload faster.
The machine has its own database, kind of like a fingerprint one. The tool’s system is built from the local shell case findings from its own agency and surrounding ones.