Kennewick Police Department utilizes ‘game-changing’ ballistics technology

BrassTrax can potentially link spent shell casings from one crime scene to another

KENNEWICK, Wash. – Kennewick Police Lieutenant Aaron Clem called BrassTrax a ‘game-changer’ for law enforcement.

Recently, the department, in partnership with ATF, gained access to a database called National Integrated Ballistic Information Network as well as a system called BrassTrax.

“It’s just a great opportunity to showcase our partnerships with our local and federal partners with ATF and then our local police agencies here in Tri-Cities,” he said.

Clem likened BrassTrax to DNA testing for spent shell casings. Imagine there is a shooting at crime scene ‘A,’ while there, investigators could collect spent shell casings and test them with BrassTrax. From there, information collected can be put into NIBIN, and potentially link those casings to crime scene ‘B.’ However, it will only show a hit if shell casings from another scene were also uploaded to the system.

For years, BrassTrax was only available in two locations throughout Washington. With this technology in Kennewick, it offers up the resource to law enforcement agencies which are closer to Tri-Cities.

“Which will reduce the amount of time it takes to get those results back,” the Lieutenant said.

Although the program can’t tell them who fired the gun, Clem said it could potentially lead them to a suspect, person of interest or a lead.

So far, they’ve already had success. Klem said they were able to test shell casings from a shooting in Kennewick in 2019 and link them to another crime scene.

READ: Four people shot at park in Kennewick

“We were able to link a gun used in that crime scene to a gun used at a crime in Yakima,” Clem said.

The technology isn’t just for Kennewick Police, other law enforcement agencies who are close by, can also utilize BrassTrax.