- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2003

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) yesterday introduced a new, Internet-accessible system that will allow state, local and other federal law-enforcement agencies to share information about bomb and arson cases and related incidents.

ATF spokesman Andrew L. Lluberes said the Bomb and Arson Tracking System (BATS) will serve as a library that law-enforcement agencies can use to manage and exchange information. It was developed by the agency’s Arson and Explosives National Repository, which Congress entrusted with maintaining all national information on explosives incidents and arson.

A Virginia agency, the Winchester Police Department, is among six pilot programs under way nationwide.

“BATS will, for the first time, provide state, local and federal law-enforcement agencies with fire, arson, post-blast and explosives-ordnance-disposal responsibilities the ability to receive real-time information concerning violent crimes under their jurisdiction,” said Kathleen L. Kiernan, the agency’s assistant director for strategic intelligence and information.

“It will allow investigators to go from being reactive to proactive,” she said.

The system, which is free and limited to law-enforcement agencies, allows investigators to capture details of bomb and arson cases, including the area of origin or device placement, casualties, dollar losses, fire descriptors, collateral crimes, device components, description of how the device was paced, and biological, chemical and radiological information.

Mr. Lluberes said the program can be used equally well by law-enforcement agencies that have an existing records-management system as well as those looking for a basic turnkey records-management system solely dedicated to arson and bombings.

ATF serves as the custodian for BATS, he said, but each participating agency will manage and control its own information and decide how and with whom to share classified information.

Mr. Lluberes said ATF’s Arson and Explosives National Repository has worked since spring 2001 with PEC Solutions Inc. of Fairfax and state and local law-enforcement agencies to develop BATS for about $500,000.

The agency is conducting pilot projects with the state fire marshal’s office of Maine; Glendale, Ariz., police and fire departments; the Winchester, Va. police department; the Southlake, Texas, public-safety department; and the fire-investigations unit of the Tulsa, Okla., fire department.

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