The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office announced on Wednesday the nation’s first fully automated Rapid DNA collection process has been launched at the Leon County Detention Facility.
Rapid DNA allows law enforcement agencies to quickly search against unsolved crimes across the nation while an arrestee is in custody during the booking process.
“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 on Wednesday. “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.”
“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,” said 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.”
How it works: DNA taken from the arrestee is electronically submitted and automatically searched in the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to see if the DNA hits to an unsolved crime. Results are back in under two hours.
Florida’s Pilot: 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. FDLE’s technology was approved by the FBI earlier this month. The FBI will use data from the pilots to establish national standards for Rapid DNA.
Partnership with Leon County Sheriff’s Office: FDLE began working with Leon County because Florida’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is located in Tallahassee. In 1990, 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.
Florida laws require all felony arrestees provide their DNA.