Police, Prosecutors Collect Their Own DNA Databases of Crime Suspects


A growing number of local justice agencies have moved into what had been the domain of the FBI and state crime labs by amassing their own DNA databases of potential suspects, some collected with donors' knowledge, and some without it, the New York Times reports. The trend, at a time of privacy concerns after news of secret federal surveillance of phone calls and Internet traffic, is expected to accelerate after the Supreme Court ruling allowing police to collect DNA samples from those arrested for serious crimes. Local databases operate under their own rules, providing police much more leeway than state and federal regulations. Police sometimes collect samples from far more than those convicted or arrested, sometimes from crime victims who do not necessarily realize their DNA will be saved for future searches. New York City has amassed a database with profiles of 11,000 crime suspects. The Orange County, Ca., district attorney has 90,000 profiles, many from low-level defendants who give DNA as part of a plea bargain or in return for having the charges against them dropped.

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