Greenville County
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Forensic Division
Firearms Laboratory

The Firearms Laboratory of the Forensic Division is the only law enforcement firearms laboratory in the upstate of South Carolina. The only other firearms laboratories in the State of South Carolina are operated by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, York County Sheriff’s Office and SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division). The Greenville County Firearms Laboratory formally began operation in 2001 with the hiring of a retired firearms examiner from the Philadelphia Police Department. Once on staff he began training of a current employee to perform independent casework.

The primary current services offered by the Firearms Laboratory are weapons operability testing, ballistic examinations, distance determination, serial number restoration, and toolmark examinations. The current examiner also provides investigative guidance to officers and assists in providing guidance in unloading weapons in special circumstances.

A service offered until 2009 was the operation of a NIBIN (National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) through the ATF (U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms). This system is the only national network that allows for the capture and comparison of ballistic evidence to aid in solving and preventing violent crimes involving firearms. A grant was sought and obtained for a person to operate the system. Part of the employee’s job duties was to be a liaison with law enforcement and encourage participation in the system. Despite efforts, law enforcement could not be enticed to use the system as part of their cases. In 2009, the ATF removed the NIBIN due to the lack of participation by law enforcement and a cutback in their funding.

Currently, some of the priorities of the Forensic Division are to train an additional employee in ballistic examination and seek funding for enhancement of services and training.