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With recent advancements in both the underlying forensic science of DNA and its widespread application by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States over the last ten years, the amount of evidence requiring DNA testing has contributed to significant backlogs of forensic analysis throughout the country.
Efficiency and quality in the laboratory can only be achieved through changes to evidence collection and increased coordination with prosecuting attorneys.
For every individual case, the prosecutorial value of DNA evidence is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain from crime scene collection; handling and transport; forensic analysis and interpretation; and finally the resolution in the court of law.
DNA DETECTION Police are using DNA in new ways in crime investigations: to probe family trees in public genealogy databases for suspects.
The technique, called genetic genealogy, raises privacy concerns.
With the scientific basis of DNA identification long accepted, most defense bar challenges are limited to attempts to demonstrate (or suggest) human or procedural error.
As legislation, innovation, and funding have contributed to a substantial increase in the volume of DNA evidence over the past ten years, strategies and solutions that have and will continue to reduce crime must be guided by the fact that prosecutions are built one solid case at a time.This increased volume has a cascading effect both on the size of the reports and what is provided to prosecutors.Although many jurisdictions have taken proactive and strategic approaches and nationwide programs such as the President’s DNA Initiative have had an impact, significant CODIS and casework backlogs remain at all levels of government.The study was to determine the effectiveness of DNA as a crime reduction tool by focusing on high volume crimes such as burglary, auto-theft, and theft from motor vehicle cases.According to a joint press release issued on June 10, 2007 by the Denver District Attorney and the Denver Police Department, Denver had the most hits on the CODIS (DNA database), cases filed with the DA’s office, and the number of cases prosecuted.Each step in the process is highly dependent on all other steps being done correctly.THE CRITICAL FEEDBACK LOOPS Second, feedback loops must be built into the system.A comprehensive tracking system is essential to reach the ultimate goal of reducing crime.Measurement of progress and results is the final element in the effective use of DNA to reduce crime.Unfortunately, training programs from the federal government aren’t enough.This training needs to be introduced in a coordinated manner at all levels.