LSP and EBRSO become national leaders in new DNA technology

Crime lab backlogs have been a problem for law enforcement across Louisiana.
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:28 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Crime lab backlogs have been a problem for law enforcement across the state. But new technology shows promise to get things rolling much quicker. State police along with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office are the first in the country that have the authority from the FBI to use this new machine.

In 2019 Louisiana State Police partnered with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office to begin laying the groundwork for incorporating rapid DNA testing into their investigations.

“Back in 2019 they were our agency who worked on the rapid DNA Pilot Implementation Committee by the FBI and that was a huge success for us and for them as well,” said Philip Simmers with State Police.

After meeting all the standards and policy procedures to get the green light, the two agencies are now able to use this new technology to help speed up investigations.

“So, potentially, if someone has DNA, they’re in the system of CODIS as opposed to now with rapid DNA they are getting a swab from a person and it’s not waiting for this to be processed at a longer time frame,” said Officer Christian Reed with State Police.

Before this new technology, it would take days, even weeks to make a match with someone’s DNA. But now it can be done in about 90 minutes.

“You can see the rapid hit ID as well as our automated finger-print identification system, which every booking agency in Louisiana utilizes and their synced to Louisiana state police. And so, we’ll automatically know when an arrestee is brought here whether his DNA is on file with a collectible offense,” said MAJ Todd Morris with EBRSO.

If a person is arrested for a felony offense, while being processed at the EBR Parish Prison, they will be brought through the live-scan terminal where their demographics are collected, and a full set of fingerprints are taken, including a mouth swab. From there it will begin to look for a match with DNA collected on evidence from state police. Which consists of profiles from unsolved high-priority cases.

“I believe the men and women here at the crime lab and our state is concerned in keeping our citizens safe. So, being at the forefront of this technology and implementing this in our best practice shows that we do want to keep our people safe,” Officer Reed added.

Both agencies tell me they are confident this will be another tool in their toolbox to solve some of the most serious cases quicker. State police say they plan to expand this new system to another 3 locations in the state, however the 3 locations and a timeline have yet to be selected.

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