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SNET: NYC's top cop to outline DNA plan:




From: "Mark A. Smith" <[email protected]>
Subject: SNET: NYC's top cop to outline DNA plan:
Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 18:25:12 -0500
To: Maureen <[email protected]>, SNET <[email protected]>, L & J <[email protected]>, David Rydel <[email protected]>


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This From: Electric Times Union (Albany, NY), December 14, 1998
http://www.timesunion.com

NYC's top cop to outline DNA plan:
Proposal aims to use sampling as a strategy against repeat offenders
http://www.timesunion.com/news/story.asp?storyKey=2960&newsdate=12/14/98

By
RICHARD PYLE
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Police Commissioner Howard Safir is going public with his
proposal for New York City police to take a DNA sampling along with the
fingerprints of everyone arrested -- a proposal already drawing fire
from
civil libertarians.

Safir planned a speech at a Bronx high school today to formally outline
his
plan as a strategy against repeat offenders -- especially burglars, auto
thieves and other specialists in property crimes.

"I'm asking myself how am I going to continue to reduce crime,'' Safir
told
The New York Times in an interview. Crime in New York City has dropped
by 50
percent in the last five years. The murder rate alone has fallen 20
percent
from a year ago and is expected to finish the year at the lowest level
since
the early 1960s.

Under Safir's plan, the police would take a swabbing from inside the
suspect's cheek, a standard method of collecting DNA, and put it into a
database for future reference. DNA is the unique genetic blueprint of
each
person, said by legal and forensic experts to be as reliable as
fingerprints
and far more useful in identifying individuals responsible for certain
types
of crime.

Safir's plan would require action by the state Legislature to expand the
circumstances under which DNA samples could be taken from criminal
suspects.
At present, New York state allows testing of felons convicted of 21
types of
violent crime, including murder, rape and manslaughter.

All other states have some form of database of DNA taken from felons,
and
last October, the FBI set up a long-discussed national DNA database
beginning with 250,000 names, linked to state-maintained databases. Only
Louisiana tests every person arrested for DNA, as Safir suggests for New
York City.

The genetic profile technology became widely known during the O.J.
Simpson
trial and has been used increasingly in law enforcement, both to
identify
criminals and to exonerate individuals falsely accused or convicted.

Norman Siegel, director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, has
objected
to the proposal, contending that arrest is not sufficient grounds for
authorities to collect personal genetic information, and would violate
the
Forth Amendment safeguard against unreasonable search and seizure.

Involuntary testing for DNA has been challenged legally by several
members
of the armed forces and a group of women on California's death row.

Copyright 1998, Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation,
Albany, N.Y.

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