Arnold: New laws fostering safer communities

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Thursday, July 13, 2017 10:57 am

All Hoosiers deserve to feel safe within their homes and communities. In past years, our area has experienced a slight increase in the number of criminal offenses reported by the Indiana State Police. While this is an unfortunate circumstance, there are actions that can be taken to combat this trend and increase public safety. New laws recently enacted will protect Indiana residents by better identifying dangerous criminals and addressing high-crime areas.

A new measure allows law enforcement to expand the use of DNA to solve crimes, helping to identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. Under this new law, a cheek swab can be taken upon a felony arrest. If a court finds probable cause, the DNA sample can be run through a national database to pinpoint and stop repeat offenders. There are currently 30 other states that have similar laws in place to prevent future crimes from occurring.

While the use of DNA evidence can be used to identify criminals, it also has the potential to exonerate innocent citizens who were wrongfully accused of crimes. To protect those who are found to be innocent, the new law lays out a system for an arrestee to be removed from the DNA database if they are acquitted of their charges, the charges are dismissed or no charges are filed after a year. Identifying criminals using the DNA database will give law enforcement agencies in Indiana access to nationwide DNA information using a method that is no more invasive than fingerprinting.

Another new law tasks law enforcement with reporting crime statistics to the Indiana State Police to help better identify and address high-crime areas. Going into effect next year so that the system can be developed, this measure will improve crime reporting at state and local levels and will allow the Indiana State Police to pinpoint where crime is happening. By inputting data in the National-Incident-Based Reporting System, the ISP can direct resources to the areas where they are most needed. This uniform criminal reporting database provides a number of advantages, including a more accurate depiction of our statewide wellbeing, resulting in better informed, more prepared officers.

By better identifying areas that need assistance, these new laws will continue strengthening Indiana’s communities and protecting Hoosiers. If you have any questions or comments on these new policies, please contact my office at 317-232-9793 or h74@iga.in.gov. You can also sign up to receive my newsletter updates at www.in.gov/h74.

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State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74,

which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties. 

A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.