Joyful Heart in the News

Flanagan, Law Enforcement Calling for Expanded DNA Database

February 6th, 2012
Smithtown Radio
James Brierton

( – New York State Senator John Flanagan and local law enforcement are calling for an expansion to the DNA database in the hope of solving more cases.

“Every day we wait to expand the state’s DNA Databank, another cold case goes unresolved, a person wrongly convicted sits in prison, and we risk one of our loved ones falling victim to a crime that could have been prevented,” New York State Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Elizabeth Glazer said in a press conference held Friday in Hauppauge.

The database, created in 1994, has already been used in about 10,000 cases, New York State Senator John Flanagan’s office says.

“Expanding [the database] will provide our law enforcement with more effective tool to keep our community safe,” says Flanagan, who is calling on the state Assembly to join with the Senate and Governor Andrew Cuomo in passing the legislation.

Flanagan, who presents most of the greater Smithtown area, has already voted in favor of the bill.

Democrats in the state senate want the bill to include provisions allowing defendants access to the database, according to the New York Times.

Under the current system, state law permits DNA samples to be collected from about 48 percent of offenders of Penal Law crimes, Suffolk police say.  They hope to expand collected samples to all misdemeanors under the Penal Law and all felonies.

“As Police Commissioner, I want to ensure that my officers have the resources they need to investigate and solve crimes,” Acting Suffolk County Police Department Commissioner Edward Webber said.

Crime victims assistance organizations such as Joyful Heart Foundation are behind the expansion.

“The DNA evidence collected in sexual assaults and other cases, does not have much value unless it can be directly tied to a perpetrator,” says the groups Chief Executive Officer Maile M. Zambuto. “Since the legislature last expanded the databank in 2006, there have been 952 DNA matches in sexual assault cases.

Police say they obtain DNA samples by rubbing the inside of an individual’s cheek with a swab. Samples are then sent to the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center, where they are converted into a numerical profile.

If enacted, Cuomo’s expansion proposal will take effect October 1 and would not be retroactive. Additionally, the proposal would not apply to children involved in Family Court matters or to youthful offenders.

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