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DOJ to use mobile "Rapid DNA" system

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Now that police are collecting DNA from more criminal suspects, the state Justice Department hopes to use those samples in a new mobile crime-fighting device.

The Appleton Post-Crescent says a system called “Rapid DNA” is in the testing stages around the country.

It can collect DNA samples directly at crime scenes, from sexual assault victims or blood left by an offender – and officers woud know within 90 minutes if a sample matches a previous suspect or offender in the state’s database.

Now, it can take days for DNA samples to be identified and matched with others.

Brian O’Keefe of the Justice Department calls it “phenomenal science,” and it could help officers catch molesters and killers before they strike again.

The federal government would have to approve full-scale use of the device first – and it would cost up to $250,000 for a mobile testing unit.

The new state budget which took effect a week ago requires police to take DNA samples from felons upon arrest, after judges confirm there’s enough evidence to order trials.

All convicted defendants will be sampled, including misdemeanor convicts for the first time.