The Denver Post says that law enforcement agencies in Wyoming, inspired by neighboring Colorado’s effort to toughen DNA preservation standards, are taking similar steps. Wyoming legislators plan to explore police evidence-handling procedures and ways they can be standardized to ensure testable biological samples are available when prisoners wage innocence claims, the paper says. Last week, a Colorado task force announced it will recommend a new law creating a process for storing and preserving biological materials collected in major felony crimes. Currently, police agencies wield wide discretion in how they oversee forensic evidence, sometimes storing samples in closets or even lunchroom refrigerators.
In dozens of Colorado cold cases, the specimens have been discarded or lost, derailing investigations. “There is a lot of room for error in storage alone,” said Wyoming Rep. Deborah Alden, R-Wheatland. “We’ll be reviewing legislation that will set the standards for DNA testing, storage and accessibility.”