BY PARKER RUNGE
Special to the Record-Eagle
---- — As technology advances law enforcement personnel are gaining access to new methods of identifying suspects and convicting criminals. DNA testing is becoming extremely accurate. More and more trials are using DNA evidence as their primary identification of the suspect.
This technology allows the accurate identification of suspects and can help police track down anyone who might have knowledge about the case by finding any DNA left at the scene, whether it is a bystander or the culprit. So why are some people trying to fight the use of this new technology?
I strongly believe that police should collect DNA in the event of an arrest, and keep that DNA regardless of whether the person is convicted. This will help build the database of DNA law enforcement officials have at their disposal.
By having a larger amount of DNA, law enforcement agents will have a higher chance of matching DNA found in relation to a crime. They can question the people that were present and use their eyewitness testimonies.
DNA is extremely accurate. An accurately matched DNA sample that is collected according to the strict protocols that prevent its contamination can make or break a case.
There are also thousands of cases filed away from times when DNA matching technology was not available. These cases are being reopened and reexamined using all sorts of different testing that have only recently seen widespread use. This is leading to the conviction of killers, rapists, and kidnappers decades after they committed their crimes and have been walking free ever since.
If we can put the family members of the victims at ease and put away the criminals that walk the streets and endanger the civilian population, why shouldn't we take advantage of such an amazing opportunity?
Many people argue that DNA testing is too expensive, and that the backlog of samples to be tested only puts a strain on the labs used by law enforcement. But if we can keep the streets and neighborhoods of America that much safer, can we really complain about the price?
As for the backlog of required tests, of course there's a backlog when some departments must send their samples into other states to have access to proper testing and labs. With an increase in funding, law enforcement departments could afford to create more labs and buy the proper equipment, helping to ensure accurate and efficient testing.
I think we need to begin collecting DNA at all arrests and invest more money into our labs and the training of our technicians. Technology is advancing every day, and criminals are utilizing it. If we want our law enforcement to stay effective, they need access to the newest technology.
Parker Runge is a junior at Traverse City West High School.