State already seeing results from arrest DNA collection law

April 17, 2018 Patrick Bauer

INDIANAPOLIS – Early information compiled by the Indiana State Police (ISP) is showing the effectiveness of legislation championed by State Rep. B. Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) that requires collection of DNA samples from any person arrested for an alleged felony offense in Indiana.

Through the first three months of this year, the new policy already has identified nearly 250 sample matches that provide links to new and old criminal investigations.

“The idea behind this proposal was to enable law enforcement to use DNA arrest sampling as a means to save lives and put serial murderers and rapists behind bars for all of their crimes,” said Bauer, who began working on a DNA sample bill back in 2014. “I believe today’s news proves the necessity of pursuing this legislation.”

The final version of the bill, which passed in 2017, expanded the types of samples that are collected and entered into the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) to include any person arrested for an alleged felony offense in the state of Indiana. These samples are collected whenever the arrested person is processed at a local county jail, then forwarded to the ISP’s Indianapolis Regional Laboratory for analysis and entry into the CODIS database.

From January to March of 2018, more than 12,700 samples were collected from convicted offenders and felony arrests. Of that number, 244 were found to match information already entered into the CODIS database and provide links to new and old criminal investigations.

“When I think about this legislation, I cannot help but be reminded of a woman named Jayann Sepich, who has used the tragedy of her daughter being raped and murdered to educate the world about the necessity for this DNA sampling bill,” Bauer said. “With her leading the way, we were able to pass legislation that can help us save innocent lives by getting murderers and rapists off the streets, as well as helping innocent people be exonerated for their crimes.

“It is also important to note that this was a bipartisan effort, particularly by my colleagues State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) and State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), who helped lead the way in passing this legislation in 2017,” he continued. “I believe the benefits of this legislation will be felt for years to come, by making sure that justice is served.”

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