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Program Helps VA Police Track Guns Used in Crimes - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Program Helps VA Police Track Guns Used in Crimes

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A statewide program is making it easier for police to track guns involved in crimes. An electronic database will allow law enforcement across the commonwealth to share records.

Charlottesville police have already signed up, and Albemarle County police could be getting on board soon.

Virginia is currently the test state for the program, which has only been in place for a few weeks. But police are optimistic about how this can change the way agencies work together.

The pilot program is an expansion of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' electronic tracing system, giving instant access to recovery records within Virginia's participating agencies.

The database makes it easier to link a suspect to a firearm, identify where the gun originated, and look at patterns, including the types of firearms being used in crimes.

Charlottesville Police Lieutenant Ronnie Roberts says that kind of access is a helping hand for investigators.

"Those 25 agencies, if they've had a previous case that may have been in that jurisdiction the collaboration that takes place to share that data pretty quick in the operational side of it, it's a big advantage for the investigators working those cases," Roberts said.

Before the electronic system came about, Roberts says it was very much a pen-and-paper process and making phone calls to work with other agencies.

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