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Government proposes that all federal arrestees be swabbed for DNA

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Government proposes that all federal arrestees be swabbed for DNA

Washington DC – Federal law enforcement agencies could be storing the DNA of all arrestees, according to a proposed rule.  The Justice Department says arrestees would have their cheeks swabbed and the resulting DNA would be entered into a national DNA database.  The rule has been published in the Federal Register and awaits a 30-day comment period.

Currently only convicted felons are swabbed by federal law enforcement agencies, but the new ruling would apply to all arrestees and all federal police agencies (and boy are there a bunch of them – from US Park Rangers to Postal Police).  According to Justice Department stats, federal agencies arrest approximately 140,000 people a year.  The proposed rule would also affect foreigners who are arrested.

The DNA results would be entered into the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS.  The system combines samples from federal and state agencies.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 44 states currently take DNA samples from convicted samples and 11 states authorize sampling from arrestees.   Those include Alaska, Arizona, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the CODIS database has produced over 45,400 hits and helped in more than 46,000 investigations.