The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the department’s roughly 9,500 rank-and-file officers, warned its members in a letter this month, telling them it could lead to invasions of privacy and misuse of the information. “The privacy issues here are very real,” said union President Paul Weber. “Who is to say where the samples will be stored and who will be able to access them? There is nothing more private than DNA.” LAPD officials defend the practice as a seldom-used but important tool. After an officer uses serious force on a suspect, investigators must sometimes test blood, saliva and other genetic material found at the scene to determine whose it is and what occurred during the incident, they say.
Los Angeles police officers have aggressively used the power of DNA technology to solve countless cases, but when it comes to handing over their own genetic code, they’ve been told to be a lot more reticent, says the Los Angeles Times. The union representing officers has sparred with the Los Angeles Police Department over the department’s refusal to set limits on its practice of collecting DNA samples from officers involved in shootings and other incidents involving serious force. Officers can be required to submit a saliva swab as part of the investigations the department conducts.