The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) is the first law enforcement agency in the state to adopt new technology that develops a DNA profile from a mouth swab in 1 to 2 hours without the need for a DNA laboratory and without any human interpretation. The HCSO began using the Rapid DNA device under the new Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Rapid DNA Booking program.
Using the system, every person booked into the Hernando County Detention Center will provide a DNA sample, which will be searched within 24 hours against all unsolved crimes listed in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).
The HCSO participation began when Sheriff Al Nienhuis sponsored a grant to participate in a pilot program using the technology, said Chris Carney, deputy director of forensic services for the FDLE.
According to Carney, the new technology has the potential to change the law enforcement landscape in the state by helping solve crimes faster.
“What (the technology) allows for is for the arresting or the booking agency to go and collect a DNA sample from that individual to be compared to the crime scene for evidentiary purposes,” Carney said in a social media video posted on the HCSO Facebook page. “There is also officer safety involved – officers don’t have to go into the streets to find this (suspected) individual.”
The HCSO began using the Rapid DNA device in mid-November.