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OSBI: Collecting DNA At Time Of Arrest Could Help Solve Crimes

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The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) is working with lawmakers to allow DNA samples to be taken upon the arrest of an alleged criminal. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) is working with lawmakers to allow DNA samples to be taken upon the arrest of an alleged criminal.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations (OSBI) is working with lawmakers to allow DNA samples to be taken upon the arrest of an alleged criminal. Currently, fingerprints and photos are taken of arrestees during booking. And only convicted felons are swabbed for DNA.

Inside OSBI's crime lab, they process those DNA samples as well as by extracting them from evidence. Then, officials said the samples are put into the state’s Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

Investigators believe the additional DNA samples will help solve crimes and stop repeat offenders.

“We just think that there’s some value in seeing DNA collected in sometimes these ‘criminal careers’ and doing so, we’re actually addressing this very early on and to a large extent, we’ll be able to prevent these crimes from happening,” Stan Florence, OSBI Director said.

And the Florence is confident they can do that, while protecting the public's privacy. Lab officials said all the samples appear nameless and authorities must verify any "matches" and make lawful requests before seeing identifying information.

Senator Clark Jolley, R-District 41 supports legislation allowing DNA collection upon arrest, but still sees it's hard for some to swallow.

“There is no question that many of us, myself included, that are very fearful of a federal government that keeps on trying to get more and more data,” Senator Jolley said. “But we also have to realize that one of the principle reasons for government is for public safety and protecting the public from these people that are raping and murdering people on a regular basis by simply getting identifiable remarks, from getting their DNA, and being able to say, ‘OK – this DNA sample matches this crime victim’s DNA – let’s start asking that person some questions.’”

Senator Jolley said he expects several bills regarding DNA collection to be brought up for the next session as early as December.

Representative Lee Denney, R-District 33 told News 9 she planned to introduce a bill that would allow DNA samples to be taken upon felony arrest at booking, and only uploaded to the DNA database once the person is bound over for trial.

Representatives with the American Civil Liberties Union in Oklahoma City said taking the most personal information an individual can possess without charges being filed or a conviction is deeply troubling and very disturbing. The ACLU added that this idea turns the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” on its head.

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