Over the next six months the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) will be testing a new DNA collection kit that promises to assist the department in obtaining DNA from firearms left at a crime scene.
The kits, which are called Trigger ID kits, will be carried by approximately 200 officers and will give metropolitan police the ability to swab a gun before it is removed from a crime scene, greatly improving the chances of obtaining DNA evidence. According to the kit’s inventor, Vincent Perez, studies have shown that forensic analysts find DNA on a firearm more often than they find fingerprints, making a case for the usefulness of this new technology.
Assisted by a federal grant program, the metro police department has purchased 400 Trigger ID kits at a cost of approximately $160,000. The devices, packaged in plastic cases, contain three swabs about the size of a pen and are small enough to fit in a police officer’s pocket. The kits are also designed to be used in harsh conditions such as rain or snow. Each officer has been given one hour of training on proper collection procedures and techniques, including wearing gloves and a mask to eliminate the possibility of contaminating DNA evidence. The prosecutor’s office expects that defense attorneys will challenge this new DNA collection procedure, but believes that judges will stand behind the proven science and the new collection method.
The IMPD is the first department to use this new DNA collection method in the field, and officials hope that implementing this new technology will lead to more arrests and prosecutions in cases involving gun crimes.