Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today gave the following statement on the House floor in support of the Rapid DNA Act (H.R. 510).
Chairman Goodlatte: The House of Representatives works on many important issues, but few are more important than making sure that innocent arrestees are promptly released and that culpable suspects are not re-released to strike again. Rapid DNA technology has the potential to do both of those things and, as such, can be an important tool for law enforcement and a key component of this body’s ongoing efforts on criminal justice reform. I applaud the gentleman from Wisconsin for re-introducing H.R. 510, the Rapid DNA Act of 2017, in this session of Congress.
With Rapid DNA technology, it is possible to test the DNA of arrestees as soon as they are in custody, and determine within hours whether they match the DNA profile from a crime scene, or from other, earlier crimes. This technology would also enable police to check the federal DNA database to see if an arrestee matches the DNA profile from previous crimes for which a DNA sample exists, but no known suspect has been identified. Rather than waiting weeks for a DNA sample to be processed and risk releasing a suspect back into the public to potentially re-offend, creating new victims, police would be able to determine at initial booking if the suspect is a person of interest in other crimes.
This bill will provide important tools for law enforcement. For instance, it will inform decisions about pretrial release or detention and their conditions. It will help solve and prevent all crimes including violent crimes. By freeing up forensic analysts, it will prevent DNA analysis backlogs.
I believe this is necessary, responsible legislation that will aid law enforcement and protect American citizens by keeping offenders off the streets. I again thank Congressman Sensenbrenner for sponsoring this important legislation, and I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this bill.