Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton wants to triple the size of his department’s cold-case operations, reports the Los Angeles Times. Bratton says 18 more detectives are needed to keep up with the growing number of potential DNA matches in old cases. He said that in taking a fresh look at some of more than 9,000 unsolved slayings, the department would use technology not available to the original detectives and might nab some assailants before they strike again. Since the unit was formed four years ago, detectives have made arrests in 30 old homicides.
The expansion would cost about $1.7 million, but Bratton said it would result in a worthwhile crime-fighting tool. “Very often these predators aren’t only in unsolved cases, but they are out there actively committing crimes,” he said. “This isn’t just a matter of going back into past history. We are dealing with contemporary issues.” A state proposition approved in 2004 requires all state prisoners to give DNA samples that would be submitted to an expanded database. Police labs would be allowed to maintain local databases. A a state-of-the-art crime laboratory slated to open within a year will allow detectives to process DNA tests more quickly and make it easier for detectives to examine some of the 6,000 fingerprints in cases from 1960 to 1987.