A new partnership between federal agents and Denver police is helping put gun-toting criminals behind bars by linking shell casings left behind at crime scenes, reports KUSA-TV in Denver. Like fingerprints, each gun leaves distinctive markings on the shell casing and on the bullet once it’s been fired. Federal agents have long kept a database of shell casing photographs, but the new partnership puts that information into the hands of specially assigned federal agents and local officers who use it to track down suspects faster than before.
In the two years the ATF has partnered with Denver police, 34 suspects have been prosecuted or are in the process of being put away for more than 50 shootings. Thirteen have faced federal prosecution. The program is funded by a U.S. Department of Justice grant. Similar partnerships are now operating in Chicago, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Boston. Six others are in development in Nashville, Baltimore, Seattle, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Colorado Springs.