Authorities in St. Kitts and Nevis are using a new investigative tool to help tackle gun-related crimes.

Twelve persons from the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and Her Majesty’s Customs spent September 18 to 20 learning about the electronic tracing of firearms, firearms identification, safety, and investigative techniques.

{IMAGE VIA –} Ollie Mier and Neil Troppman of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) – which is a law enforcement agency in the United States Department of Justice – facilitated the three day workshop. Mr. Mier, who serves as the ATF’s Caribbean Coordinator, shared some aspects of the sessions.

“There was the exchange of ideas and information, of investigative techniques, comparison of the firearms laws in the United States to the national firearms laws here, the capabilities and assistance that can be rendered between both countries and it was basically the establishment of a good strong working relationship,” Supervisory Special Agent Mier explained.

Mr. Troppman, who runs the international firearms tracing programme at the ATF National Tracing Center (NTC) in West Virginia, told SKNIS that the Bureau’s eTrace (Electronic Tracing System) was one of the primary tools presented to the participants. The internet-based system allows participating law enforcement agencies to submit firearm traces to the NTC. Authorized users can receive firearm trace results, search a database of all firearm traces submitted by their respective agency, and perform analytical functions.

eTrace is used to interdict firearm trafficking and it is available to any law enforcement agency throughout the world with a simple memorandum of understanding with ATF and it is currently in use in 33 other countries outside the U.S.,” Troppman said. “It was very, very well received, I think we successfully exchanged a wealth of information not only from our counterparts here but we learnt a lot from them as well.

The ATF reportedly has done work with most countries in the Caribbean Region. The eTrace tool will allow the local Police Department to open joint investigations with the ATF. The visiting officials thanked the Government and people for its hospitality and pledged to work on strengthening the newly formed relationship.

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