The FBI’s DNA database of genetic samples from prison inmates nationwide has helped in 11,000 cases in the last few years, the Associated Press reports. The Combined DNA Indexing System (CODIS), also has freed prisoners wrongly convicted of crimes and helped detectives eliminate wrong suspects, saving manpower chasing false leads. “The potential for us in the criminal justice field to solve crimes with this technology is boundless,” said Joseph M. Polisar, police chief of Garden Grove, Calif., and president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The FBI says more than 8,000 samples of genetic evidence from unsolved cases have been matched to past or current convicts in the database. Another 3,000 samples have been matched to unidentified suspects in other cases that remain unsolved, creating links between cases.
The FBI lab was accused of shoddy work and exaggerated or false testimony by its scientists in the 1990s. The current director, Dwight Adams, has addressed those issues and made a priority of expanding the DNA database. A DNA scientist, Adams acted to insulate the database from legal or scientific attack. His lab created an identification system to safeguard the privacy of samples and ensure matches are double-checked before suspects are arrested.