CARSON CITY — Nevada should join 43 other states that include all felons in a national DNA database, lawmakers were told Thursday.
Directors of crime labs in Reno and Las Vegas joined other law enforcement representatives to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to support Assembly Bill 92, which was unanimously passed by the Assembly last week.
Violent criminals often have previous convictions for nonviolent crimes, said Don Means, captain of the Forensic Division of the Washoe County sheriff’s department. When they can collect DNA samples from a crime scene, police can sometimes solve cold cases by getting a DNA “hit” from the national DNA offender database, known as CODIS.
Nevada police have solved 141 cases using the database, including 19 homicides, said Means. In nearly half of those cases, the offenders were in the database because another state put them in after a nonviolent offense.
“Across the country, nonviolent offenders are being identified by cold hits in CODIS on a regular basis,” said Linda Krueger, director of the Las Vegas police forensics lab. “Criminal activity knows no boundaries.”
Currently, Nevada law only allows the collection of DNA samples from those convicted of serious and violent felonies. Nevada is one of only six states that doesn’t collect DNA samples from all felons.2007