A new $5.3 million state crime lab in Bismarck, N.D., will be processing an increasing load of DNA samples, says USA Today. Five states will begin new sampling of suspects arrested for felony offenses in the last six months of 2008. Of those, North Dakota, California, Maryland and Kansas are spending millions of dollars to prepare for the additional testing. “It’s a race against the clock,” says Kristen Mahoney of Maryland’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Maryland will spend $1.7 million to hire more scientists and fund other costs to help process 31,000 new profiles it expects to add in 2009, the first year of its expanded sampling program.
In California, a $10 million lab expansion is scheduled for completion next month to house 1 million new DNA samples. State law requires anyone arrested for a felony to provide genetic material starting in January. At least 21 other states are considering proposals to expand sampling to include felony suspects, says DNAResource.com. Last week, the federal government issued rules for taking DNA samples from anyone arrested for a federal crime, including suspected immigration violators. The sampling program, which starts after a 30-day public comment period, is expected to add 1 million profiles.