Bullet lab welcome

A new bullet lab for the York County Sheriff's Office should be a good addition to the county's crime-fighting arsenal.

The county will use a $58,000 Project Safe Neighborhoods grant to establish a sheriff's office ballistics unit and buy special equipment to help gather evidence from guns that figured in local crimes.

One purchase will be a high-tech water tank used to recover bullets fired from guns. The guns are fired into a tube in a 10- to 12-foot-long water tank, which slows the bullet without damaging it. The bullets and shell casings then can be analyzed by ballistics experts.

More than 1,000 weapons are stored in boxes and bags in evidence rooms at Moss Justice Center. By performing the analysis locally instead of sending guns to the State Law Enforcement Division, the county can reduce the time it takes to retrieve the information from months to a few weeks.

Local officials believe that if all those seized weapons could be examined, test-fired, categorized and filed with SLED's Integrated Ballistics Information System, the county would have faster and easier access to vital information that could help prevent crime. The county someday might even establish its own database.

Crime often accompanies growth, and it is reassuring that the county is taking steps to be better prepared. This is a good investment of one-time grant money.

Bullet lab and ballistics unit at York County Sheriff's Office is good addition.