LCSO to receive 250K for new rapid DNA machine

The technology could help investigators solve crimes faster
LCSO to use rapid DNA testing machines
Published: May. 8, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - New technology set to come to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office could be a game changer in solving crimes faster.

On Friday, the Florida legislature passed its annual budget, which includes $250,000 for LCSO to purchase a rapid DNA machine. LCSO is one of 11 counties that are part of a pilot program to test out this technology.

Assistant Sheriff Steve Harrelson said currently, LCSO has to send its DNA samples to FDLE for testing. That process takes weeks. But this new machine can do the same thing in just two hours.

The sheriff’s office tested this machine back in February 2020, but soon it will be a permanent fixture in the office. When a person is arrested, deputies will be able to take a mouth swab and have that DNA tested before the booking process is over. Using the old system, a criminal could have left the state or even the country by the time a DNA match comes in.

“We still have that person in custody, which is a good thing,” Harrelson said. “So a lot of times somebody gets arrested, they get out. Two weeks later they might get their DNA into the system. Maybe a month later they get a hit, and then this person is not here any longer.”

Governor DeSantis still has to sign off on the budget, so these machines won’t be purchased until after that happens. Harrelson said he expects the program to be up and running before the end of this year.

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