FDLE, Leon County Sheriff’s Office unveil nation’s first automated rapid DNA collection

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DNA strands illustration. (Credit: MGN)
DNA strands illustration. (Credit: MGN)

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement along with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday a new process being used at the Leon County Detention Facility.

Rapid DNA collection allows law enforcement agencies to quickly search against unsolved crimes across the nation while an arrestee is in custody during the booking process.

DNA is taken from the arrestee, electronically submitted and automatically searched in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to see if the DNA matches an unsolved crime. Results are returned in under two hours.

“Law enforcement officers know the value of DNA evidence in solving crimes and taking the most violent offenders off our streets,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen.  “There is no question that DNA testing has made Florida safer, and the use of Rapid DNA will ensure suspects aren’t released from jail before DNA search results come back. FDLE has been working to develop this technology for nearly 10 years, and I am extremely proud of our FDLE scientists who made this possible.”

Florida is one of five states selected by the FBI to participate in the project and the only one to use a fully automated process. The technology was approved by the FBI earlier this year.

The FBI will use data from those pilot programs to establish national standards for Rapid DNA.

FDLE began working on the project with LCSO since Florida’s CODIS is located in Tallahassee. Back in 1990, LCSO became the first law enforcement agency in Florida to submit a blood sample from a convicted felon for DNA testing into Florida’s DNA Database.

“The Leon County Sheriff’s Office is honored to partner with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to introduce Rapid DNA procedures in the Detention Facility for the first time in the State of Florida,” commented Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil. “We believe this scientific DNA matching tool will greatly enhance all law enforcement agencies in Leon County and across our state to more effectively and efficiently solve crimes and bring the perpetrators of crime to justice.”

Florida law requires all felony arrestees provide their DNA.

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