Daytona cops to take DNA in all arrests

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/volusia/orl-dna0708feb07,0,476106.story

Daytona cops to take DNA in all arrests

They hope a database will help catch a serial killer.

Kristen Reed and Rachael Jackson

Sentinel Staff Writers

February 7, 2008

DAYTONA BEACH

Any day now, Daytona Beach police will begin seeking DNA samples from every person they arrest, hoping to help nab the serial killer who has slain four women here.

Chief Mike Chitwood said the launch of the new and relatively rare policy will provide his investigators — who have recovered the killer’s DNA from two victims — with a valuable tool in their pursuit.

"They get cuffed, we’re going after DNA," the chief said late Wednesday. Last year, Daytona Beach police arrested 11,000 people. "DNA is going to replace fingerprints soon. Whether we’re doing it now for the serial-killer investigation or whatever . . . DNA is going to be useful as a tool."

Chitwood is asking all law-enforcement agencies in Volusia County to do the same. At least one, the Port Orange Police Department, confirmed Wednesday that it would be helping.

The chief said the DNA that is collected — from any type of arrest and within the parameters of the law — will be sent to the state’s database. He hopes the effort, in the long term, will help area law-enforcement agencies solve a number of crimes.

Typically in Florida, DNA is collected after a person is convicted of a felony. Short of that, the law requires people to surrender a DNA sample voluntarily, even if they have been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor.

It’s not common to collect DNA from people who are arrested but not convicted, said Doug Ward, director of the Division of Public Safety Leadership at Johns Hopkins University.

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