Governor Jim Doyle is lining up behind a proposal to change the way DNA samples are collected by law enforcement. Recent weeks have seen the revelation of thousands of DNA samples from convicted felons are missing from a state database. The governor says it makes sense for DNA collection to take place when individuals are arrested for felonies. “They take fingerprints, they take the photograph, they take the other basic information, and I think it just makes sense, that that’s the time that DNA is collected,” said Doyle.
Doyle is throwing his support behind the bill authored by Senator Sheila Harsdorf and Representative Ann Hraychuck. “It insures that everyone who is charged with a felony, everyone who is arrested for a felony, has their DNA swab submitted to the databank,” said Hraychuck, adding that she and Harsdorf have been working on the proposal for several months.
Doyle and Hraychuck said taking DNA samples at the time of felony arrest will initially put more costs on local law enforcement agencies, but eventually save the state money. Hraychuck, a Democrat with an extensive law enforcement background, said the sampling could potentially save lives, and help to exonerate those who’ve been found guilty of crimes they didn’t commit. Doyle, responding to civil liberties concerns, said DNA samples of those who are found not guilty will be expunged from the state database, and that the samples will not be used for any other purposes.