New DNA machine will help AZ officers fight crime faster - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

New DNA machine will help AZ officers fight crime faster

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

It's new technology that should make crime-fighting in Arizona a whole lot faster.

Vince Figarelli heads up the state crime lab with Arizona's Dept. of Public Safety.

He said that their DNA machines can usually run results in about a day or two.

However, the state just purchased a new piece of equipment that can get DNA results in less than two hours.

"That can make a significant difference," said Figarelli. "If you have a suspect or perpetrator who is committing multiple crimes, the quicker they can apprehend that person, the better  that's going to be to prevent further crimes from occurring."

The device is called the Rapid Hit 200, one of only a few machines like it in the country.

DNA technician Kathy Press told CBS5 News that standard DNA machines have three separate processes that must be done separately to create a DNA profile.

The new device can do them all at once in much less time.

"This is a real-life application for our officers and citizens that allows us to get results back so much faster than days or months," said Press. "This is a public service, as well as a crime-fighting tool."

The rapid DNA analysis machine has yet to be used to solve any crimes in Arizona because officials say it needs to be tested and validated first.

Authorities are expecting it to be ready to go by the first of the year, when law enforcement agencies across the state can request to use it.  

It should be significantly helpful in solving sexual assault and murder cases, Figarelli said.

"In these types of cases, where there's a danger to public safety, folks will be able to know that officers can run suspects samples as soon as they get them," said Figarelli. "They will be able to know if that person is a suspect and identified in those crimes."

The new DNA analysis machine costs around $250,000, and so far the state has bought two of them, making Arizona the only state crime lab to have one.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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