Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Caribbean Police Forces Sign eTrace Agreement

/PRNewswire / -- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Deputy Assistant Director Julie Torres signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will provide eTrace, an electronic system used to trace illicit firearms, to several Caribbean Community (CARICOM) police commissioners from Antigua; Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Vincent; the Grenadines; Aruba; Curacao; Grenada; and Anguilla. This is an ongoing effort to combat firearms trafficking in the region consistent with the December 2007 joint CARICOM-U.S. Initiative on Combating the Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons and Ammunition. (For additional information see: http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rls/120209.htm.) The signing took place today in Bridgetown at the U.S. Embassy.

The MOU establishes conditions of the partnership between ATF and those countries regarding policy and procedures for the access and use of eTrace services made available to law enforcement agencies.

eTrace is a paperless firearm trace submission system that is accessible through a secure connection to the World Wide Web. This Internet application provides the necessary utilities for submitting, retrieving, storing and querying firearms trace-related information allowing for the systematic tracing of firearms recovered from crime scenes. Analysis of firearms trace data can assist in the identification of firearms trafficking patterns and geographic profiling for criminal hot spots and possible sources of illicit firearms.

ATF processed more than 300,000 crime-gun trace requests in fiscal year 2008, including traces from 58 countries. The other countries in the region that have eTrace capabilities include the Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama and Mexico. The seven Central American states recently signed the same MOU in December 2008. (For additional information see: http://www.state.gov/p/wha/hs/c29261.htm.)

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