Jacksonville's Mayor makes emergency funding request for new crime-fighting tool

It's technology meant to make Jacksonville safer.

Mayor Lenny Curry wants to tap into emergency dollars for a new crime-fighting program, one he says is innovative and will prove his commitment to public safety in the Bold City.

In a press conference this morning at City Hall, Curry said he's going to ask the City Council for $250,000 to fund a program called Integrated Ballistic Identification System, also known as IBIS.

The mayor says that program - which is tied to the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) run by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms - utilizes a machine to process shell casings found at crime scenes.

"When a gun fires a bullet, the casings have an imprint on it much like a fingerprint," Curry noted. "This technology will allow our law enforcement to trace guns used in a crime to other crimes much more rapidly than what happens now, which will lead to getting bad guys off the street and prosecuted that much quicker."

Also at that press briefing was Florida 4th Circuit State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams, both of whom said this new technology will be an invaluable tool for JSO to internally process ballistics information within days instead of submitting that information to the crime technicians at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, a process which they say can take over a year due to heavy workload at the state level.

"The value in this technology for prosecutors and law enforcement is in its timeliness, when every single day matters," Nelson added. "[JSO] will have results between 24 to 48 hours rather than 12 months or 18 months."

Sheriff Williams says this sort of investment will strengthen JSO's ties with state and federal law enforcement, leading to a better day-to-day working relationship and the ability to better fight all kinds of serious crime in Jacksonville, including gang-related, drug-related and terrorist activities.

"I strongly believe in pursuing new technologies and this is one innovation that I think will really enhance our crime-fighting ability in the city," Williams stated.

Because Curry is using a one-cycle emergency appropriation, his request is scheduled to go in front of the City Council when it meets again on February 28th.

As part of this request, Curry, Willams and Nelson all plan to travel to Denver sometime in April to look at ways to implement IBIS effectively, assuming it's approved through the City Council.

JSO is also weeks away from implementing its ShotSpotter pilot program, according to Curry. Funding for that program was recently approved by the City Council.

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