Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $515,000)
The Riverside County Sheriff's Department is seeking funding for a Rapid DNA testing machine to assist law enforcement in providing safe communities by fostering an environment of positive economic and social outcomes for the 2.4 million citizens that reside here.
Innovative technology such as Rapid DNA has transformed law enforcement by revolutionizing how agencies perform police work in the 21st century. Rapid DNA describes a process by which an automated device comprehensively analyzes a reference sample generating a DNA profile quickly, thereby reducing processing time from months to hours. Faster DNA results speed up investigative processes and allow the Department to provide investigative leads rapidly.
Rapid DNA technology revolutionizes the Department's current system and improves how it processes evidence in the county, not only for homicide and murder crimes but for property crimes too. Property crime offenses are too low of a priority to warrant crime lab forensic analysis. Since there are no forensic DNA investigative support options when a property crime occurs, rapid testing allows law enforcement deputies in the field to analyze samples themselves in under 90 minutes, providing the required forensic analysis support to solve crimes quickly. Evidence shows that individuals who commit property crimes have higher recidivism rates than offenders in other crime classifications. Solving more of these cases will improve relationships with local communities and reduce overall crime within Riverside County.
While Rapid DNA testing helps to reduce overall crime, it's also a scientifically sound method to exonerate innocent suspects. In the case of sexual assault, where there are three suspects, one is guilty, and two are innocent, sending samples to a crime lab and waiting months to analyze results, even under the presumption of innocence, can take a toll on suspects. Rapid DNA improves the evidentiary turnaround for suspects accused of sexual assault, delivers quicker resolutions to victims, and allows for reduced compaction within our Riverside County detention facilities.
If awarded funding, the Sheriff's Department will share this technology with other law enforcement agencies throughout the inland region to ensure the highest return on the taxpayer's investment, allowing contract cities and municipal police regional partners to augment their forces with Rapid DNA technology.