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Justices Rule DNA Swabbing Upon Arrest

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MEDFORD, Ore. — The United States Supreme Court ruled that officers can collect DNA from someone that is arrested, similar to taking someone’s finger prints. Medford Police say this ruling opens the door to solving more crimes.

In Oregon, police can only collect DNA in three ways: if the person consents, through a judge issued warrant, or if someone has been convicted of a felony.

“When it comes to law enforcement that the ultimate piece of evidence. It is the one thing that proves beyond a reasonable doubt in court,” said Medford Police Lt. Mike Budreau.

The Medford Police Department submits collected DNA through the Oregon State Police Crime Lab. That data is funneled through a state system then into a national database to identify a suspect.

If Oregon decides along the road to change how police can collect DNA, Medford Police say it’s going to increase CODIS, and in turn, solve more crimes.

“Anything to increase that database will increase the likelihood of arrests,” Lt. Budreau says. “So, you’re going to have more people in that, so you’re going to have more matches to the unknown DNA sample that you have in crime scenes.”

According to court documents the national database, CODIS has more than 10 million criminal profiles and 1.1 million profiles of those arrested.