MEMPHIS, Tenn. — WREG first told you how the Memphis Police Department has not been giving the ATF all of the information about seized guns over the past decade. That has changed more recently under Police Director Toney Armstrong. The numbers are up, and are much more consistent.
MPD says the technology between the two departments was the problem. They’ve gone from submitting 100 serial numbers a year to 2,000.
Memphis police take 4,000 guns off the streets every year, and bring them to the evidence room at 201 Poplar. They’re photographed and logged into a multiple computer systems.
Major Richard Borgers said, “We’re able to take shell casings from a crime scene, and a gun from a suspect. We can solves crimes with it.”
Major Richard Borgers says police use one computer system to track the ‘fingerprint’ of a gun, or the imprint it leaves on a shell casing, and use that to prosecute the gunmen.
But that’s not what the ATF is interested in. It wants to know where the gun was originally purchased, and where it ended up.
Borgers said, “The eTrace program only works if you have a correct model number, serial number and all the information on it.”
But criminals file those serial numbers off sometimes, making that tougher.
Since Police Director Tony Armstrong took over the department in 2011, the reports to ATF have been much more consistent.
In 2011, the MPD only submitted serial numbers for 103 guns. In 2012, that number jumped to 2,400, and in 2012 it was 1,900.
ATF spokespeople say by tracking the gun’s serial number, they can solve more crimes on a national level, and also help solve cases in Memphis.
Police added, “The goal is to try and get everything submitted in two days so we can solve crimes in real-time.”
MPD is now in talks with ATF to give them their own processing machine, rather than having to go through TBI, to streamline the process, and get the feds the information they need as soon as they can. Those machines run about $350,000 dollars though, and someone has to pay for it.