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

UPDATE

New DNA machine helping AZ officers fight crime faster

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

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

The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) said its crime laboratory has completed the validation process of its new Rapid DNA instruments and they are now available to use in law enforcement investigations.

Vince Figarelli, who heads up the state crime lab with DPS, said that their DNA machines can usually run results in about a day or two.

However, the state purchased the 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 CBS 5 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."

A DPS detective with the Vehicular Crimes Unit (VCU) used the Rapid DNA process to identify a suspect through blood found inside a car, DPS said. A DNA profile was obtained from both the suspect's blood sample and the blood from the car and the DNA profiles matched.

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 suspect's 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."

With Tuesday's announcement that the instruments have been validated, now law enforcement agencies across the state can request to use it.

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. DPS said several more of the instruments will be purchased and placed in locations throughout the state.

DPS is offering classes for interested law enforcement agencies in the state.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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