What can we conclude from all this? Things have certainly changed with respect to how we should view forensic ballistics evidence in terms of defining highest probable value. The tide has turned. IBIS technology can correlate evidence at speeds well beyond human capability, exchange data more quickly and efficiently, and help police sustain the generation of more information than ever before to link crimes, guns, and suspects through ballistics evidence. Therefore, we submit that the highest probable value now lies in the collection, imaging, and sharing of all forensic ballistics evidence taken into police custody.
“Things change” and we must continually be aware of our changing environment so that we can reposition our viewpoints and seize new opportunities to be more efficient and effective at making the world a safer place.
Forensic science now allows us to examine finite detail so that we can collect more, analyze and evaluate more, and draw more reliable conclusions. We can literally get even more “bang for our buck.” As the father of reforming science Descartes said, “to make so complete an enumeration of the links…and to pass them all so thoroughly under review, that I could be sure I had missed nothing.”
Although effective police work requires a continual balance of the amount of time, effort, and resources that can be applied to an investigation, developments in science and technology can make us more efficient and cost effective so that we can reasonably say that given our new tools, “we have missed nothing.”
Pete Gagliardi has 30 years of law enforcement experience at both the local and Federal levels. In 1999, he retired as the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division from the US, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and joined Forensic Technology. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Leary is Senior Policy Advisor to Forensic Pathways Ltd, UK, and Honorary Senior Scientist, University College, London, England. A former Senior Detective and Scientific Officer in the United Kingdom, he is an acknowledged advisor and expert on evidence and intelligence, Leary has worked for 27 years in the West Midland Police forces. He is also a Senior Research Fellow of UniversityCollege London, UK.