April 1, 2015, Wisconsin joined over half the United States in collecting DNA from arrestees. Originally the law, 2013 Wisconsin act 20, required DNA samples be collected for all felony arrests. In 2014, this requirement was changed. Anyone arrested for a “violent” felony, adults convicted of a misdemeanor, and juveniles convicted of certain misdemeanors will be required to provide a DNA sample in accordance with 2013 Wisconsin Act 20.
Prior to April 1, only those convicted of felonies and sex offenders are required to provide a DNA sample to the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory Database Unit for analysis. The Database Unit currently receives 12,000 DNA samples annually. The Wisconsin Department of Justice anticipates this number to increase at least five fold.
You may ask why this change is occurring. According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, more DNA samples will lead to more crimes solved. Items that contain DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules are one of the primary types of evidence investigators look for at crime scenes. There have been cases where a person convicted of a crime has provided a DNA sample which led to that person’s arrest for other crimes where DNA was collected from a crime scene but never matched to a perpetrator.
The Wisconsin Department of Justice has prepared for this change by hiring ten new DNA Analysts and eight Forensic Program Technicians. There have also been changes made to the process which had been used to collect the DNA sample. Law enforcement and corrections staff have been provided with training and the new kits that will be required to collect DNA samples have been disbursed. Wisconsin is now among those states attempting to solve crimes by using the scientific advancements that have been made over the years.
If you have any law enforcement questions or topics you would like more information about, contact Terri Hook at 715-361-5150 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your question may be the topic of the next article.