The TV crime drama CSI delighted over 17 million viewers during its time on-air and gave viewers a glimpse, albeit a glamorized one, into the fascinating world of forensic investigations. Each one-hour episode captivated audiences as dramatic crimes were processed in state-of-the-art crime labs with futuristic instrumentation that produced almost instantaneous results and led to the perpetrator’s emotional confession.
As forensic scientists, we are all too familiar with CSI’s effect on our work and expert testimonies. It’s challenging to explain to juries that rising caseloads and sample backlogs mean that not every piece of evidence can be tested, or that the flashy instrumentation either doesn’t exist or is just too expensive for the average crime lab. Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) is one of many forensic agencies grappling with the effects of CSI. Serving 200 law enforcement agencies across a state of 7.6 million people, AZDPS felt the increasing pressure of seemingly endless DNA requests and an ever-growing backlog. Something needed to be done, and the team had a vision: How could they combine the latest technology, world-class training, and collaborative support to forge lasting partnerships between the crime lab and their various law enforcement agencies?
In this video, Mark Smith, Supervising Forensic Scientist and Rapid DNA coordinator, explains how AZDPS took this vision and turned it into reality with the help of Rapid DNA technology. AZDPS brought their first Rapid DNA system online in 2013 and conducted their first law-enforcement training in 2014. Fast-forward to 2020, and the program had empowered trained law enforcement personnel to process over 500 cases, resulting in 170 investigative leads in cases including missing persons, homicides, sexual assaults, and even a bank robbery.
The Rapid DNA program at AZDPS provides world-class support and timely investigative information to assist in the quicker exclusion of the innocent and apprehension of the guilty. “We haven’t reached the finesse of CSI, [solving] a case in an hour-long TV episode with commercials, but we’re getting closer!” said Smith.
Watch the video to learn more about the case examples from AZDPS and its successful Rapid DNA program.
Learn more about the NDIS-approved Applied Biosystems RapidHIT ID System.
Please join us at HIDS Virtual 2021 on May 19-20 to hear more stories like this one.
For forensics, human identification or paternity/kinship use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.