Because the full set of ORIs also includes the police or public safety forces maintained by colleges and universities, state parks, and other agencies, ATF suggested 17,000 eligible agencies as a more valid figure, for a 1.3 percent utilization rate. The Inspector General’s office could not find support for the 17,000 figure and continues to use 38,717 as the benchmark (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, 2005:140).
The Inspector General audit found that a total of 7,653 law enforcement agencies had contributed firearms evidence to the NIBIN system through the 231 agencies with IBIS equipment. The audit found 37 nonpartner agencies—which did not have a memorandum of understanding with ATF regarding the usage of IBIS equipment—contributed significant amounts of evidence to NIBIN through equipment provided to partner agencies. The audit also found that by November 2003 the NIBIN system had satisfied the goal of providing the capability to compare ballistic images at a national level, by performing several regional searches as described in Section 5–B.1.
To measure the utilization of the NIBIN-deployed IBIS equipment, ATF relies principally on system-generated operational data that are compiled monthly by polling the individual IBIS RDAS units. “The monthly acquisition report contains details of the number of bullets and cartridge casing entries that have been made, and the number of ‘hits’ that have resulted from such entries for each RDAS unit site. The activity of the [portable Rapid Brass Identification] units is rolled into the usage data for the RDAS unit where the RBI data is submitted” (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, 2005:11). These monthly data are reviewed and used to generate a quarterly “watch list” of low-usage sites.
NIBIN policy is to send a “Notice of Insufficient Usage” to agencies after the first quarter of low usage; if low usage persists the next quarter, ATF staff arrange a site visit to the location. If usage has not stepped up after a third quarter, the IBIS equipment is subject to removal and relocation to other agencies.
The Inspector General audit of NIBIN (U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General, 2005:20) analyzed 888,447 records of firearms evidence entered into NIBIN by 196 partner agencies as of October 22, 2004; it concluded that the IBIS equipment had not been effectively deployed at many NIBIN sites. First, the level of entry appeared to be disproportionate: the 30 highest-entry partner agencies (15 percent) accounted