Police Officers Oppose Trend Toward Collection of Their DNA


Rank-and-file police officers from Connecticut to Chicago to Los Angeles have opposed what some experts say is a slowly emerging trend in the U.S. to collect officers’ DNA, reports the Associated Press. “From a civil liberties standpoint, there are a lot of red flags,” said Connecticut Trooper Steven Rief, former president of the state police union. He said most officers are willing to give DNA samples if it aids an investigation, but they expect safeguards to protect the collected information.

Officers say their concerns include management using the DNA information to see if employees are predisposed to diseases and to predict workers’ future health problems. The rank-and-file also don’t want their DNA placed onto a national database that holds criminals’ genetic data. Connecticut state police officials tried to get the legislature to approve a law requiring officers to provide DNA samples in 2009, but the bill died after Rief and others spoke out against it. In Chicago, police officers rebelled with a work slowdown in 2008 because of resentment toward their new chief over several issues, including a new policy to collect DNA from officers working at crime scenes. In a still-unresolved dispute in Los Angeles, the police union and top brass have traded salvos over a requirement that officers give DNA samples in shootings involving police and other use-of-force incidents.

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