DA’s Office announces ‘game changing’ new tech for police investigations

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The Chester County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) recently acquired new technology that will be used by law enforcement to assist with their investigations. Through a grant approved by the Chester County commissioners, the DAO purchased a Rapid DNA instrument that will expedite DNA testing to help solve crimes faster. In addition, Chester County law enforcement will partner with neighboring counties to share DNA samples in their investigations. On July 27, 2023, over 100 law enforcement officers throughout Chester County were trained on the technology’s capabilities at the Chester County Public Safety Training Campus in Modena.

This technology will be utilized by law enforcement throughout the county to help either eliminate or identify suspects within 90 minutes in some cases. It will further assist law enforcement to keep our county safe, and solve many types of crimes including homicides, assaults, and property crimes.

DA Deb Ryan said, “This game changing technology is significant to our investigations not only by producing faster results, but also for the ability to share data across a larger database with our law enforcement partners in different areas. With expedited test results we can make quicker arrests and eliminate those who are innocent. This will help in our mission to protect and uphold the safety of all in Chester County.”

In a joint statement, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz, Josh Maxwell, and Michelle Kichline said, “Chester County allocated nearly $7 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for public safety projects, including law enforcement and court-related initiatives that benefit county residents. Having in- house technology to test for DNA is a game-changer because it provides faster results and expands the types of cases that can be tested for DNA, such as property crimes. Our law enforcement community is committed to solving crimes, seeking justice, and keeping our citizens safe. One of the best ways to recognize their commitment is to provide the best resources to help them do this.”

Once an agency’s samples are processed for DNA, BODE Technology maintains the DNA results in a database and searches the DNA profiles against each other. This is done in the hopes of finding samples with DNA profiles that match. BODE Technology is the only provider of these services which will give Chester County Law Enforcement the ability to check the DNA samples in a multijurisdictional system.

Bensalem Township in Bucks County has already documented a 42% reduction in property crimes after introducing this technology in their jurisdiction.

Currently, the processing time for DNA takes approximately up to six months or longer in the state crime labs. Rapid DNA testing provides law enforcement the ability to gather DNA samples and investigative leads that were not possible due to a lengthy backlog experienced by the state crime lab. With rapid testing the response time for other testing could be done in less than thirty days.

In addition to the implementation of the BODE technology, there will be a RapidHIT ID Instrument in the Crime Scene Unit within the Chester County District Attorney’s Office. Under certain circumstances, law enforcement is able to upload certain DNA swabs through the RapidHIT ID Instrument and obtain a result from the DNA database in ninety minutes.

Bode Technology and ThermoFisher Scientific (the developer of the Rapid Instrument) are in a partnership with these integrated programs that complete the Rapid DNA testing program. The instrument processes a buccal swab, blood

and saliva, and develops a DNA profile to be uploaded into the local database. This database conducts a search across all participating agencies’ DNA profiles looking for a match. Matches are reported to the respective agencies and investigative leads are developed. These matches could potentially not only be an individual suspect but may link a sample to other crime scene samples and identify a crime spree.

This will be a multi-year project which will take effect in mid-August.

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