STATEHOUSE (April 17, 2018) — After just three months of being implemented, a state law requiring DNA samples to be collected from those arrested for a suspected felony is showing positive results, according to the law’s sponsor State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon).
Steuerwald, chair of the House Committee on Judiciary, said as of Jan. 1 a DNA profile is taken through a cheek swab from anyone arrested for a felony crime. Previously, a sample was collected only following a felony conviction. The DNA profile is run through 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 calls a ‘hit.’
Already the new law is helping criminal investigations in Indiana, Steuerwald said, with the first arrestee hit linked back to an unsolved rape investigation that began in 2016. During the first quarter of this year, the Indiana State Police Laboratory reported collecting 12,705 DNA samples, including 9,375 from felony arrestees, resulting in 244 total hits. According to Steuerwald, this rate of DNA matches is about four-times higher than what the state averaged prior to the new law.
“After just three months in effect, this new law is already proving it’s a useful tool in connecting felony arrestees to unsolved crimes,” Steuerwald said. “Investigators have matched over 200 DNA profiles to crimes across 44 counties throughout Indiana, and 23 other states.”
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.
Senate Enrolled Act 322 passed into law in 2017 and became effective Jan. 1, 2018.
Click here to read the release from the Indiana State Police.
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.