This year marks 20 years that the GBI Crime Lab has utilized the Combined DNA Index System or CODIS. CODIS enables federal, state, and local forensic laboratories to exchange and compare DNA profiles electronically. This milestone culminates years of quality work produced by GBI Crime Lab scientists and technicians in combination with state of the art technology.
GBI Director Vernon Keenan stated, “DNA continues to be an important tool for law enforcement to link criminals to various crimes. Twenty years of using this database resulting in 6,572 confirmed hits is a true testament to the value of DNA and its ability to aid in solving cases.” In June of this year, DNA evidence led to the identification and indictment of a serial rapist suspect connected to at least 15 cases where women were kidnapped and raped dating back to 2001.
The GBI began DNA testing in 1991. In 1994, the Georgia legislature authorized DNA collection from convicted sex offenders. Four years later in 1998, the GBI Crime lab implemented CODIS into its operation. The current success of the program stemmed from the expansion of the offender law by the legislature in 2000 to include all incarcerated convicted felons. In 2005, Georgia laws were amended to include inmates serving extended sentences. Subsequently in 2007, the legislature expanded the DNA database statute to include certain felony probationers. In total, the majority of DNA hits have been for burglary (44%) and sexual assault (30%) cases while the primary crimes these offenders were incarcerated for are drug or burglary related.
Currently, the GBI DNA database contains 359,957 profiles and has aided in over 9,200 investigations.