First automated rapid DNA collection pilot in Florida

First automated rapid DNA collection pilot in Florida

The nation’s first fully automated Rapid DNA collection process is now being used at the Leon County Detention Facility. The announcement was made by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office.

This means that when DNA is taken from a suspect, it will be electronically submitted and automatically searched in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Results are returned in under 2 hours and will show whether the DNA is connected to an unsolved crime anywhere in the nation. 

Florida is one of five states selected by the FBI to participate in the Rapid DNA project and the only one to use a fully automated process, according to FDLE. Leon County was picked for the pilot because Florida’s CODIS is located in Tallahassee.

“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 Commissioner Rick Swearingen told WJCT News. “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.”

Other states in the program are California, Texas, Arizona and Louisiana.

DNA testing in Florida

In 1990, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office 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. 

“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,” said Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil.

Florida law requires anyone arrested on a felony charge to provide a DNA sample. The requirement also applies to certain misdemeanor convictions.

Missouri is considering adopting a law that requires DNA collection for felony arrests. Some 25 states have already passed the measure, dubbed ‘Katie’s Law’, which requires every individual who is 17 years or older who is arrested for any felony offense to provide a cheek swab for DNA profiling.

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