MILITARY

New van aims to help police analyze weapons at crime scenes

National officials are rolling out a new van that will enable detectives to test-fire weapons and rapidly analyze bullets and shell casings recovered at crime scenes rather than sending them to labs and waiting days for results. The first stop for the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network is Baltimore, where the number of homicides so far this year is the second-highest the city has ever recorded.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives launched the mobile ballistics van Tuesday. The van functions as a forensic lab, and also has a trailer on the back where detectives can test-fire the weapons.

The van will spend about a month in Baltimore before moving on to Chicago, where last year's murder rate was the deadliest in nearly two decades.

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Information from: The Baltimore Sun, http://www.baltimoresun.com