Local Politics

Perdue wants authorities to collect DNA upon arrest

Posted May 11, 2010 3:12 p.m. EDT

— Gov. Beverly Perdue on Tuesday called on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow law enforcement officers to collect DNA samples from anyone arrested on felony charges.

Twenty-three states and the federal government already have laws authorizing DNA samples upon arrest. The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation predicted that such a law would solve 100 cases in the state within a year.

“Safe communities are a critical part of ensuring North Carolina emerges from this recession poised to be the best place in the world to live and work,” Perdue said in a statement. “We can’t create jobs or grow businesses unless folks feel safe.”

“Many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, and catching them early after arrest can prevent crime," Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. "This proposal will save lives, prevent violent crime by repeat offenders, solve cold cases and exonerate those wrongly accused of a crime.”

Perdue also called for $10 million for the Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services project to put all criminal records into one comprehensive system. The technology will help law enforcement communicate more efficiently and help catch criminals faster, she said.

Other elements of the Governor’s legislative crime package, which was announced at Guilford Technical Community College, include $5 million to expand the use of VIPER radios for communication between first responders, salary increases to recruit and retain probation officers and restoring funding for the North Carolina Victims Assistance Network.