POLICE Magazine

OCT 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/1037204

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of custody. As a result, evidence has a much better chance of standing up to scrutiny in court. "e process of DNA proling has not changed substantially through the use of rapid DNA systems," says Lisa Calandro, se- nior director of product management in the Human Identica- tion Business at ermo Fisher Scientic. "We have evolved the technology that is generally accepted in courtrooms throughout the United States to provide DNA results very quickly and with minimal manual intervention." e passage of the Rapid DNA Act of 2017 sets the stage for the placement of rapid DNA systems in booking stations across the country. e legislative environ- ment for this already exists; 31 states now allow for arrestees to be swabbed for DNA at the time of their booking or charging. Rapid DNA in Action e Township of Bensalem, PA, was the rst police department to acquire the RapidHIT ID. Along with 38 other police de- partments, Bensalem PD uses its "magic box" to help solve property crimes and other high-vol- ume crimes generally committed by repeat criminal o"enders. In just the rst three years of the agency's rapid DNA program, Bensalem police saw a dramatic decrease in burglaries in the community. Furthermore, Bensalem investigators have gained control over which crime scene samples are processed, en- abling a shi– to processing the most pro- bative samples in a property crime scene, including touch DNA, blood, and saliva. e Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) was the rst state agency to launch a Rapid DNA Law Enforce- ment Program. Oœcers and crime scene technicians have been trained to become operators of the Rapid DNA instrument, able to run select samples from crime scenes to generate DNA proles in under two hours and develop investigative leads in cases. As of June 2018, over 350 cases had been run through the Arizona Rapid Program with over 100 investigative leads generated. "e evaluations are going very well. ese instruments are new and will need to be evaluated by labs before they are fully operational, but the outlook is ex- tremely encouraging," says Vince Figarelli, superintendent of the Phoenix DPS crime lab. Figarelli says he can also see the RapidHIT System used for other applications outside the laboratory such as identifying deceased victims at a medical examiner's oœce. "Family mem- bers can submit their DNA and within two hours, a relative can be identied. Right now families have to wait for dental records," he says. Outside of the United States, proles generated by rapid DNA instruments have been uploaded to national databases, informed high prole police investigations, reunited families, and have even exonerated innocent people from crimes they did not commit. In some countries that are just beginning to develop laboratory infrastructure, rapid DNA o"ers a low cap- ital alternative to developing forensic capabilities. Fullling a Vision e initiative for rapid DNA began with the FBI in 2010 as a vision for e"ective and eœcient DNA-based identication for use by law enforcement. e Rapid DNA Program Oœce works with the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institute of Justice, and other federal agencies to ensure coordinated development of the technology among federal agencies. With the passage of the Rapid DNA Act of 2017, the FBI is now working with leading state agencies, forensic labs, and ven- dors to integrate rapid DNA technologies with existing booking station processes. Crucial to the success of rapid DNA for use in conrming the identity of arrested felons is the de- velopment of interfaces for the booking stations to communicate with the Combined DNA Index Sys- tem (CODIS) and, consequently, the national DNA database. E"orts are underway to pilot the systems with select law enforcement agencies in 2019. Training and Validation In the immediate term, rapid DNA technology is being adopted by agencies that have need for faster turnaround time for investigative lead generation, mass disaster preparedness, and other mobile appli- cations. Several counties have used funds from the federal drug forfeiture program for these purposes. Grant funds are also available through the Depart- ment of Justice (see "Rapid DNA: Finding the Money" at http://www.policemag.com/channel/technology/ articles/2014/02/rapid-dna-nding-the-money.aspx. More and more communities are realizing that the cost of using rapid DNA technology for property crimes is far less than the impact, nancially and otherwise, that property crime has on law-abiding citizens. e public safety benets are so great that communities across the U.S. are fast-tracking acquisition of the technology. e National Institute of Justice estimates that the top 10% of burglars based on total activity commit 232 crimes each. e estimated cost of these crimes is $491,608 per burglar per year. In addition, a 2007 study conducted by the Urban Insti- tute–DNA Field Test reported that an individual DNA test cost approximately $1,400; just 3% of the cost of a single prolic burglar in a year. Note: Rapid DNA is for forensics, human identication, or paternity/kinship use only. Not for use in diagnostic or therapeu- tic applications. Q Annette Summers founded GeneCom a•er having di•culty con- necting with agencies that had solid science experience. She now helps compose articles on genetic topics. I N V E S T IG AT I V E T E C H NO L O G I E S | SP E C I A L R E P O RT | 15 The Applied Bio- systems RapidHIT ID system by Thermo Fisher Scientific can pro- cess DNA samples in 90 minutes in the field.

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