This article profiles the National Ballistics Imaging Comparison (NBIC) Project.
In response to the guidelines issued by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board (ASCLD/LAB-International) to establish traceability and quality assurance in U.S. crime laboratories, a NIST/ATF joint project entitled National Ballistics Imaging Comparison (NBIC) was initialized in 2008. The NBIC project aims to establish a National Traceability and Quality System for ballistics identifications in crime laboratories within the National Integrated Ballistics Information Network (NIBIN) of the U.S. NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2460 bullets and 2461 cartridge cases are used as reference standards. 19 ballistics examiners from 13 U.S. crime laboratories participated in this project. They each performed 24 periodic image acquisitions and correlations of the SRM bullets and cartridge cases over the course of a year, but one examiner only participated in Phase 1 tests of SRM cartridge case. The correlation scores were collected by NIST for statistical analyses, from which control charts and control limits were developed for the proposed Quality System and for promoting future assessments and accreditations for firearm evidence in U.S. forensic laboratories in accordance with the ISO 17025 Standard. (Publisher Abstract)