Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, today announced another milestone for Maryland’s DNA database, supporting its role as an invaluable tool to law enforcement in the ongoing effort to reduce crime, apprehend criminals, and exonerate the innocent.
Maryland’s DNA database, housed at the State Police Forensic Sciences Division laboratory, has now recorded 5,000 positive comparisons, or “hits,” as they are commonly referred to. A positive comparison occurs when DNA obtained from a crime victim or scene is matched with either a known offender sample or DNA from another crime scene that is on file in Maryland’s DNA database, or CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System, which enables access to the national database.
Earlier this month, scientists at the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division forwarded information to detectives at a law enforcement agency in Maryland that the 5,000th positive DNA comparison through the use of Maryland’s DNA database was connected to an open 2014 felony sex offense case they are investigating. Specifics in this case cannot be made known at this time because the investigation is ongoing and the suspect has not been charged.
Maryland’s DNA database was established by law in 1994 and the first positive comparison occurred in 1998. It was eight years later, in August 2006, when State Police scientists reached the 500th hit.
Twenty-three months later, the 1,000th hit was recorded in July 2008. Fifteen months later, in October 2009, another 500 positive comparisons were reached. The 2,000th positive comparison mark was reached in January 2011. The 3,000th positive comparison was made in June of 2013. The 4,000th positive comparison was made in May 2015.
As of mid-September 2016, there were 120,978 convicted offender DNA profiles in CODIS. Current Maryland law requires all persons convicted of a felony, fourth degree burglary, or breaking/entering of a motor vehicle to submit a DNA sample that becomes part of the DNA database.
On January 1, 2009, legislation took effect that requires those arrested and charged with qualifying violent crimes, or 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burglaries and attempts to commit those crimes, to submit a DNA sample. As of mid-September 2016, there were 33,106 DNA profiles in this database.
The success of the statewide DNA database is due to the diligent efforts and cooperation of many individuals. They include the personnel of the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and those in local police DNA laboratories, as well as the cooperative collection efforts by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Department of Parole and Probation, sheriff’s offices and detention centers across the state, and Maryland’s district and circuit court systems.