Sussex County Sheriff's Office Uses DNA Testing
We live in an age of amazing technological advances. As new technologies are developed and we find wider applications for their use, older technologies that had once been seen as indispensable are deemed obsolete and discarded. For proof of that, simply walk down a public street and look around for a payphone.
Law Enforcement is no exception to technology's continuing evolution.
One of the major advances in forensic science has been the use of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) in criminal identification. Although relatively new, the use of DNA in criminal identification is nothing short of a paradigm shift. The ability to positively identify a criminal from a strand of hair or drop of blood has proven invaluable both as a means to incriminate the guilty and exonerate the innocent.
The Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) is the generic term used to describe the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) program of support for criminal justice DNA databases as well as the software used to run those databases. A DNA database, funded by the FBI, CODIS is a computer system that stores DNA profiles created by federal, state, and local crime laboratories throughout the United States, with the ability to search the database to assist in the identification of suspects in crimes. The National DNA Index System or NDIS is considered one part of CODIS, the national level, containing the DNA profiles contributed by federal, state, and local participating forensic laboratories. In practical terms, the time now required to positively identify a criminal has gone from days and weeks to mere minutes.
From the advent of fingerprinting to the modern day crime labs depicted in television shows like "CSI", "Bones", and "NCIS," Law Enforcement has embraced many of these technological breakthroughs and employed them in the never ending search for facts and, although actual crimes are rarely solved in 48 minutes, the use of DNA has been responsible for identifying numerous criminals that may not have been identified otherwise.
Since 2006, the Sussex County Sheriff's Office's Bureau of Corrections has submitted over 2,060 DNA samples to the nation wide database. Those DNA submissions have contributed to the successful prosecution of 23 separate indictable crimes ranging from burglary, robbery, sexual offenses and theft within Sussex County.