STATEHOUSE (Aug. 9, 2018) — A state law requiring DNA samples to be collected from those arrested for a suspected felony produced a higher number of matches to crimes than ever before, according to the law’s sponsor State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon).
As of Jan. 1, a DNA profile is taken through a cheek swab from anyone arrested for a felony crime. The DNA profile is then compared to other profiles in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a nationwide database that allows state, local and federal law enforcement to exchange and compare profiles to help identify serial offenders, close unsolved criminal cases and exonerate the innocent. If a DNA profile matches a profile already in the system, it will produce what law enforcement call a ‘hit.’
The new law enabled law enforcement to obtain a DNA sample from a person accused of a felony at the time of arrest. Prior to the new law, the DNA sample could only be taken upon conviction for a felony. This law took effect Jan 1, 2018. In that short period of time, CODIS has confirmed more than 500 total DNA hits. Approximately 200 of those hits, including homicides and more than 20 sexual assaults, would likely not have been secured without the new law.
“This has developed into one of the most important crime-solving tools we gave law enforcement,” Steuerwald said. “I thank law enforcement throughout the state for their work collecting the samples and the Indiana State Police Laboratory for keeping us informed of the results.”
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 30 states currently have some form of state DNA collection upon arrest, as does the federal government.
State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) represents House District 40,
which includes a portion of Hendricks County.
A high-resolution photo of Steuerwald can be downloaded by clicking here.