With homicides and gun violence setting record rates across the nation, the Indy metro is not immune from these challenges. Fishers Chief of Police Ed Gebhart believes that to protect our community, the best defense is a good offense. That’s why the Fishers Police Department has led a regional effort to develop and resource the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force to relentlessly pursue, recover, and forensically analyze guns used in crimes. This effort allows law enforcement to be as proactive as possible in the wake of a violent crime.
If you’ve ever watched a criminal investigation TV show, you’ve probably seen evidence being processed at lightning-fast speeds, with detectives receiving DNA, fingerprint, and ballistics results from crime guns – all before the end of the episode. Unfortunately, the reality of evidence analysis is a much different story.
Typically, when a crime-related gun is seized, it is packaged by evidence technicians and sent to the Indiana State Crime Lab for testing. The lab is often overwhelmed with evidence submissions, which means it can take up to a year to fully process a crime gun. The odds of linking a seized crime gun to a shooting in the Indianapolis area after an entire year and then apprehending the suspect are not great.
However, there is good news for our community and bad news for violent criminals. The Fishers Police Department is taking the middleman out of the equation, processing crime guns at record speeds, and teaching other agencies how they can do it, too.
The Fishers Police Department forensics team has developed a system for recovering and processing crime guns in our very own crime lab. FPD technicians swab the gun for DNA, preserve the fingerprints on the gun digitally, and then take guns to the ballistics lab in person. This streamlined and efficient process means that evidence can be uploaded and compared to national databases the very same day the gun is seized.
The quick results from these crime guns go straight to the FPD Intelligence Unit for analysis. That intel gets forwarded to the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force. The ICGTF, officially established this year by House Bill 1558, is a collaboration of Indianapolis area agencies who work tirelessly to link crime guns to shootings and arrest those responsible for them. This system of recovering crime guns, processing them in-house and sending the results to the ICGTF has been extremely successful so far. Since 2019, 234 crime guns have been seized in Fishers, with 149 of those being linked to additional violent crimes.
The Fishers Police Department forensics team is working to train other agencies on how to recover and process their own crime gun evidence as well, which will mean more criminals behind bars and fewer guns falling into the wrong hands. FPD has trained over 249 officers and 32 police agencies so far, with the number growing every year.
The Fishers Police Department encourages all gun owners to be responsible and do their part to keep our community safe with these safety tips:
- Don’t leave your gun in your car – ever.
- Invest in a gun safe and lock up your guns when not in use.
- Take photos of your guns and record the serial numbers.
- Report any missing guns to law enforcement immediately.
Officer Jessica Stout is the Public Education Officer for the Fishers Police Department. She loves spending time with her family, including her toddler and three amazing step-kids. In her downtime, she likes to enjoy all the restaurants and food that Fishers has to offer with her husband. Her favorite thing about Fishers is the sense of energy and community that the city has to offer.
The Fishers Police Department’s mission is to protect and serve our city, secure the future of our children, and support our officers to achieve the highest standards. Learn more on their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.