Rapid DNA Act Signed into Law

Recently, the bipartisan, bicameral Rapid DNA Act of 2017 was signed into law. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has been a powerful advocate of Rapid DNA technology to solve crimes and exonerate the wrongfully accused.

DNA is a critical forensic tool in solving sexual assaults as well as other serious crimes. Many government crime labs are overburdened with work, and don’t have the capacity to process this vital forensic evidence in a timely manner. This problem has resulted in an estimated backlog of 400,000 to 500,000 sexual assault kits throughout the nation, leaving sexual assault crimes unsolved and violent criminals free to reoffend.

Rapid DNA technology is a vital tool to expedite entry into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) that will speed up the timetable for DNA analysis. This expedited entry of DNA reference samples into CODIS through Rapid DNA will assist law enforcement to more quickly solve crimes, link suspects to other investigations including unsolved rapes and murders, and release individuals whom DNA analysis indicates are innocent.

The bill allows for a suspect’s DNA sample to be taken at the time of booking, developed within 90 minutes and then uploaded directly into CODIS, as opposed to the current lengthy process.

“Rapid DNA technology provides an effective new way to identify or clear a suspect within 90 minutes instead of what now can take years," says Alameda County DA Nancy E. O’Malley.

“Law enforcement agencies across the nation and the people they serve will be grateful for this bipartisan effort to make their work more efficient.”

Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA-15) was the lead Democratic House cosponsor, letting local law enforcement use Rapid DNA technology to speed up justice.

“This law’s enactment proves that, even in troubled political times, we can work together across the aisle to make Americans safer,” Swalwell said. “This new law will help law enforcement agencies across the nation use a more powerful tool to protect and serve our communities, to clear the innocent, and to attain justice for victims.”

“Today marks a landmark day in more efficiently fighting crime and supporting law enforcement,” said Robert Schueren, President and CEO of IntegenX, a global market leader for Rapid DNA human identification.

“We are grateful for District Attorney O’Malley’s unwavering support of DNA testing being performed in a most streamlined and accurate manner.”

Posted on Aug 22, 2017