I found an old report card the other day while cleaning out some files and it certainly reflects a much different era. Not quite Little House on the Prairie where reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmitic were the foundational subjects upon which an education was built, but close! Apart from reflecting on my advanced age, it did bring to mind the foundational aspects upon which quality technology is built – repeatability, reproducibility, and reliability.
In the context of forensic scientific analysis, repeatability is when the same examiner can get the same result on different occasions. Reproducibility is when different examiners can get the same result when using the same process. Reliability is when the process, properly followed, can produce results that are accurate and reflect the truth of the evidence. Testing has shown that BallisticIQ is repeatable, reproducible, and reliable.
The reason this is important is because it is a tool designed to automatically sort or triage through multiple cartridge cases recovered from a crime scene to select the best candidates for entry into NIBIN. Currently, that process is commonly performed by technicians using a stereo microscope, a process that requires training and expertise in evaluating firearm produced marks on cartridge cases so that they can be triaged for purposes of sample selection. While technicians can be well trained, it does take time to provide adequate training and even with that, the final decision made by the technician using a stereo microscope is subjective. Furthermore, because the final decision is subjective, different technicians can have different interpretations of what is being observed and, as a result, the end results may be different. Finally, the process can take significant time to perform, especially as the number of fired cartridge cases increase.
Meanwhile, BallisticIQ provides objective analytical results that are more repeatable and more reproducible than current processes utilizing stereo microscopes. It is also reliable, using advanced algorithms to maximize the objective information generated by the technology; technology easily utilized by technicians requiring less training than demanded by current processes. Finally, BallisticIQ can process large amounts of cartridge cases common at many crime scenes, more rapidly than a technician with a stereo microscope. I guess that would be a fourth R to add to the equation.
In order to be effective, a preventive crime gun strategy requires comprehensive collection of firearm related evidence and the timely (and accurate) processing of that evidence. For that to happen, sample selection for NIBIN entry must be rapid, repeatable, reproducible, and reliable. BallisticIQ is the only automated triage tool that can offer all four with a minimum of training and low investment.