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State Expands DNA Collection

Roy Cooper

People arrested for violent felonies and some misdemeanors dealing with sexual predators will have their DNA entered into the state’s database as part of a new law taking effect February 1st. Attorney General Roy Cooper has been outspoken supporter of the measure.

"This can help prevent crimes. We had a young woman who came and testified about the fact that her rape could’ve been prevented had DNA been taken from her rapist, who had committed two prior rapes and who had been arrested earlier but was out on bond. We can use this law to apprehend suspects sooner, keep the public safe, and exonerate innocent people."

Some people are worried about the idea of taking DNA from people who haven’t been convicted of anything. But Attorney General Roy Cooper says the new system can help prevent crimes.

"Courts have held this to be constitutional in that it is critical for the safety of the community to exonerate innocent suspects, to make sure that technology is being used to the fullest extent to do justice. There is a protection in this law that if you are found to be not guilty or if the charges are dropped, then the DNA is removed from the database."

The state DNA database contains over 200-thousand profiles already and has helped solve more than 1900 cases according to Cooper’s office. He says the DNA will be collected with cheek swabs and that police chiefs across the state have been instructed how to carry out the law.

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