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Mar 19, 2014

Police officers attend IBIS workshop for firearms crimes

The government of Canada gifted Belize with an Integrated Ballistics Identification System back in October 2012. Known as IBIS, the system is a modern tool being used to investigate and solve gun crimes, but its success is yet to be determined. This morning, officers involved in investigating firearm crimes gathered at the Belize Biltmore Plaza to get first hand information from former Special Agent Pete Gagliardi of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Gagliardi has identified the lack of confidence in the police force as a major deterrent in solving crime. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Across the country, in Belize City particularly, gun crimes are among the highest offences committed.  From homicides to robberies and other forms of physical assault, crimes are often carried out using firearms.  The prevalence of these types of activities has resulted in the National Forensic Science Service procuring what is known as an Integrated Ballistics Identification System.  IBIS, for short, was built to speed up the extremely labor-intensive process of matching ballistics information in police investigations.  That system was introduced in a year and a half ago.  Today, law enforcement officers from various government departments, tasked with investigating such offences, are attending a workshop geared at solving more gun-related crimes.


Ret. Col. George Lovell, CEO, Ministry of National Security

Ret. Col. George Lovell

“In May 2012, the Government of Canada was kind enough to donate the most recent version of the Integrated Ballistic Identification System to us.  We have since been working diligently to populate our database while simultaneously developing our human resources capacity to effectively analyze the products that are gathered from the numerous scenes of crimes.  I am encouraged by the gathering here today which brings together all the relevant stakeholders that will be required to have the understanding and trust in evidence that our forensic experts will produce.”


Centered around a manual titled The Thirteen Critical Tasks, written by former Special Agent Pete Gagliardi of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the cadre of officers is learning the fundamental approach to the manner in which firearm crimes are investigated.


Orlando Vera

Orlando Vera, Firearm Examiner, NFSS

“I know that this workshop is intended for us to look at all aspects of how the IBIS equipment that was kindly donated by the Canadian government to us would assist each one of our units and formations, each one of us are stakeholders in the combating of crime.  With the assistance and mentorship of Mr. Pete Gagliardi who is here present with us to share his knowledge, as you guys have heard.”


With nearly forty years of experience in law enforcement, as well as investigating effective forensic practices, Gagliardi has compiled a list of duties associated with solving firearm offences.  Part of what he has observed, having taken a critical look at crime here, is a lack of trust in the Belize Police Department.


Pete Gagliardi, Senior V.P., Forensic Technology

Pete Gagliardi

“An erosion of confidence in the police and the criminal justice system, fear is a very damaging thing when it comes to gun violence and often the fear can be worse than the actual results of the gun violence itself.  The other thing I noticed that was interesting is that things seem gang-related here, twenty shots, lots of evidence most likely left at the scene.  Most likely this crime is a retaliatory and repetitive one.”


To further illustrate his study, Gagliardi raised the issue of the effect that fear of gun-related crimes has on the economy, in this case the tourism industry.


Pete Gagliardi

“News Five, a pair of siblings on vacation in the Cayo District was kidnapped, four abductors are at large, two are believed to be involved in the murder of a Canadian national Brian Townsend.  What struck me about this article was that, as I mentioned, fear of gun crimes can be as devastating to an economy that just of a country.”


According to the Senior Vice President at Forensic Technology, the reasonable approach to investigating crimes committed with firearms is that there is an abundance of information to be gathered, including spent shells, that, when fully exploited, can be used to generate actionable information.

Isani Cayetano reporting for News Five.

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1 Response for “Police officers attend IBIS workshop for firearms crimes”

  1. John Henry Browne says:

    Orlando Vera is a dishonest, incompetent forensic examiner. Mr. Vera has allegedly examined evidence regarding the suicide of US citizen Tim McNamara, on 12-25-14. His conclusions are absurd. As an example he confuses the right hand from the left, really. Calls blood transfer “spatter” and overlooks evidence that clearly support suicide not murder. He concludes there was no blood on Mr. McNamara’s hands, but fails to mention Mr. McNamara was in the driving rain for over three hours. Mr. Vera then attempts to befriend Ms McNamara, through deception, and lure her back to Belize. I would caution anyone interested in Mr. Vera that he is totally incompetent. He refuses to allow independent examination of evidence by internationally known expert.

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