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Brown Announces Elimination of DNA Data Bank Backlog
LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced that the backlog of DNA samples collected from convicted felons—which stood at 295,000 in July 2006—has been eliminated.
At a news conference with Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley, Brown said: “The state has the third largest DNA database in the world so eliminating the backlog is a major milestone in combating crime in California. The next phase—collecting DNA samples from all persons arrested for felonies in California—will begin January 1, 2009. I will use the full resources at my command to meet this challenging goal.”
Proposition 69, passed in November 2004, required all convicted felons to submit a DNA sample to the CAL-DNA Data Bank Program. In response, the Program immediately hired and trained new DNA analysts and started a statewide DNA sample collection training program. An executive order, requiring expedited DNA collection from all incarcerated felons and parolees resulted in a peak of 70,000 submissions in April of 2005—over twice the number received in the year prior to Proposition 69—for a total submission in 2005 alone of about 300,000 samples.
The Attorney General’s Office, in collaboration with the Governor, identified the critical need to eliminate the developing backlog. Utilizing existing personnel in a special overtime project, along with the validation and implementation of new methods, the Program boosted analytical capacity to over 40,000 DNA samples per month. Increased efforts to enhance recruitment and retention allowed CAL-DNA to find the trained analysts necessary to meet the next wave of Proposition 69 mandates—the implementation of the all-adult-felon-arrestee provision in January 2009—estimated at 390,000 submissions per year.
In 1990 CAL-DNA was established in the Division of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Forensic Services in DOJ; and in 1994 funding for sex offender collections was obtained. The expected number of offender DNA samples submitted at that time was 40,000 per year. After 10 years, the inclusion of violent felons and other qualified offenders in 2004 had expanded the database to about 300,000.
California Attorney General’s Office now has the third largest DNA Database in the world, just behind the United States as a whole and Great Britain. CAL-DNA has over 940,000 in the searchable database, known as the CAL-DNA Data Bank, as part of the National DNA Index System, which is operated and overseen by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) Unit.
CAL-DNA has to date reported over 5,000 offender hits, or linkages established by a common DNA profile between crime evidence and an offender in the database. These hits continue to solve crimes and improve public safety.
A press release with charts is attached.