Massachusetts officials have failed to collect the DNA samples of 20,000 felons, as required by law and dictated by the courts, leaving a gaping hole in the State Police DNA database, the Boston Globe reports. The samples’ absence was discovered during the mandated updating of the state's Criminal Offender Record Information database. It raised concern among law enforcement officials that felons were evading the law and have been going unnoticed.
The concerns have grown to the point that State Police have dispatched teams to identify the whereabouts of and arrest certain felons who have failed to provide their DNA samples, including Level 3 sex offenders. Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, secretary of public safety and security, told probation officials and county sheriffs that many of the felons at issue once were in their custody and that the officials should help identify those who have failed to provide samples. State law requires that felons provide a DNA sample within a year of their conviction.