THE POWER OF FLORIDA'S DNA DATABASE
July 19, 2005
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement's DNA database's mission is to process, analyze and maintain a database of convicted-offender DNA samples to aid law enforcement in solving crimes, says Guy M. Tunnell, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
DNA analysis is a powerful investigative tool that allows forensic scientists to match suspects and victims to DNA samples with a degree of certainty far beyond that attainable using conventional methods. DNA databases in Florida are regularly helping to match one or more criminals to an act they committed that might otherwise go unsolved.
- Overall, Florida's DNA databases have aided in the investigation of more than 3,000 criminal cases.
- This number includes 133 homicides, 924 sexual assaults, 1,589 burglaries, 223 robberies and/or home-invasion robberies, 48 auto thefts, 41 assault/batteries and a varied array of other crimes.
- As a side benefit, DNA has also provided positive identification of a number of unidentified deceased; DNA databases were responsible for more than 85 percent of these matches.
Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature have committed funding for processing more DNA samples. It will allow technicians to test samples of most convicted felons, including violent and sexual offenders. In addition, the governor and Legislature most recently provided funding for 20 new forensic scientists for our state's crime labs, allowing state police to analyze far more cases.
The ever-growing number of resolved cases is a testament to DNA analysis's critical importance, says Tunnell.
Source: Guy M. Tunnell, "The power of Florida's DNA database," Orlando Sentinel, July 19, 2005.
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