Government widens biometrics database as police begin on-the-scene DNA testing

Saturday, August 6, 2016
By Paul Martin

by: J. D. Heyes
Saturday, August 06, 2016

Legislation involving DNA evidence that would permit local police to quickly test the genetic makeup of suspects in the field, without having to wait for or rely on technicians in an accredited laboratory, may soon be voted on in the House.

As reported by NextGov, the bill focuses on a fairly new screening device that is roughly the size of a printer and is called Rapid DNA. The concept behind the technology is to clear innocent people quickly, while providing cops with the ability to detain criminals and free up labs to clear out backlogs of other cases like rape, according to majority members of the House Judiciary Committee, who supported and approved the measure for a full vote of the chamber.

At present, DNA swabs that are taken in the field have to be analyzed at credentialed labs. That is a process that takes many weeks, on average, to complete. Also, these are the only samples permitted to be run against the FBI’s centralized database for potential matches.

The measure, called the House Rapid DNA Act, is the product of a bipartisan effort; it was unanimously approved by the Senate in June. It authorizes a cheek swab that can be processed by the automated device and subsequently uploaded into the FBI database named CODIS.

‘Real world consequences’

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