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Forensic DNA Education for Law Enforcement Decisionmakers

Investigation Aided

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Investigation Aided

Composite image of DNA and files on a shelf
National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (see reuse policy).

The common purpose of most DNA database laws is for the identification of criminals. For example, the purpose of the federal law is "for law enforcement identification purposes", California's statutory purpose is "for law enforcement identification analysis",14 and Virginia's statutory purpose is "in furtherance of an official investigation of any criminal offense".

These laws do not address how law enforcement can use the database to achieve the stated purpose. When the laws were first passed, most jurisdictions prohibited the use of DNA information for insurance, hiring, or other similar genetic discriminatory purposes.

An "offender hit" can only be described as a match between an offender and a forensic sample from a crime scene. The FBI's CODIS website » describes it best — CODIS's primary metric, the "Investigation Aided," tracks the number of criminal investigations where CODIS has added value to the investigative process. In other words, it is unknown whether or not the crime was solved or a conviction was attained. Similarly, a familial search may provide "added value to the investigative process."

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