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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Consider Requiring DNA Samples At Time Of Arrests

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(Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, at today's hearing.  Photo by Lynne Adkins)

(Members of the Pennsylvania Senate Judiciary Committee, at today’s hearing. Photo by Lynne Adkins)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Members of Pennsylvania’s state Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing today on a bill that would change when DNA samples can be collected for a police database.

Currently, a DNA swab is taken after a person is convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors.  This bill would have the DNA collection done upon arrest.

Capt. Robert Scott, acting director of the Pennsylvania State Bureau of Forensic Sciences, told the hearing at the Independence Visitors Center that the change would give police access to critical information much sooner, helping to solve cases and exonerate the innocent.

But, he says, it would also add 100,000 cases to his already overworked lab every year.

“Legislative measures must take into account the funding, personnel, equipment, facilities, and implementation time necessary to make the new capabilities a reality,” he told the panel.

There is a backlog in loading the DNA information into state and federal databases, he points out, and that delay would increase.

Reported by Lynne Adkins, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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