The Laredo Police Department has implemented a new system that allows them to capture images of spent casings.
This equipment was provided at no cost to the city of Laredo thanks to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives along with Congressman Henry Cuellar.
“I have put the funding and the language to put this in south Texas but they put it here in Laredo so I’m excited. It should be over 300 dollars of investment for the equipment and the training no cost to the city of Laredo except when they send someone to Alabama to get the training.”
Before Laredo Police had to send their evidence out of town for analysis but now, they can do it locally, making it faster to solve a case.
“Gives us the capacity to work the case here locally, do those comparisons, do those submissions and have those returns in 12-24 hours. Whereas before these comparisons were done in different labs in San Antonio or Austin and depending on their priority, their workload since they are serving other agencies, it could take months whereas now it could take a day.”
With this system, trained technicians enter cartridge casings evidence into the identification system. Officials compared this to a fingerprint allowing them to know more about the weapon used.
Authorities say other counties and law enforcement agencies will be able to access the data to help with their cases. With only a week of using it, officers say they now have a lead in a case but could not provide more information because it remains under investigation.
In other cities such as Houston, the system has been very successful.
“We have been doing it for a couple of years now in Houston and we have actually arrested 134 shooters. That means those are 134 people that are no longer shooting in the streets of Houston. We expect a year from now to show that success here in Laredo.”