New technology could catch criminals before crime scene tape comes down


It’s a technology already known in Utah. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) — It’s a technology already known in Utah.

“I’d like to turn now to Rapid DNA” said U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch during last year’s confirmation hearing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

At the time, Sessions answered by saying “this technology represents tremendous opportunities to solve crimes in an effective way.”

Hatch sponsored the Rapid DNA Act of 2017. It was signed into law last year.

“This is going to be something that’s going to be a game changer” said Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill.

The small, lightweight portable machines can analyze evidence right at a crime scene and deliver DNA results within two hours, a much shorter time then what it normally takes now.

“Two weeks, sometimes that is a luxury so in some jurisdictions it’s even much longer than that. It could be two months,” said Gill.

Gill said of the amount of time to get DNA results back from the lab. Sim Gill is Salt Lake City’s top prosecutor. He makes his living putting people behind bars.

“It will definitely change investigations and will certainly contact prosecutions” Gill said.

But, Gill warned there could be challenges to this technology and likens it to the use of DUI breathalyzers adding “how reliable is this technology? What is the science that this is based on? What are the credentials to calibrate these machines and who is going to be certified?”

That’s what the Utah Attorney General office is in the process of testing right now. The machines, software and training can cost upwards of a couple hundred thousand dollars. There is no time frame for a decision on if and when they will be rolled out to law enforcement agencies across the state. We will certainly follow up with the Attorney General’s office and let you know what they decide.


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