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DNA swabbing for Hoosiers arrested for felonies

ELKHART, Ind. -- New year, new laws.

Those arrested on felony charges in Indiana, are going to have to go through an extra step in the judicial process. 

The new law requires police to swab arrestees for their DNA, which then goes into a database.

Indiana is the 31st state to implement this new regulation.

"I think it'll benefit us. Every time we can build a database, it's been shown to be effective," says Sgt. Chris Snyder with the Elkhart Police Department.

It's a new way to potentially solve crimes, just in time for the new year.

"It's a win-win for everybody, unless you're the person getting swabbed," adds Sgt. Snyder.

But you only get a DNA swab, if you're arrested for a felony.

The new law, which goes into effect January 1, was crafted by a state senator from Granger.

Sgt. Snyder says, this is just going to help make solving crimes, a lot easier.

"If someone commits a crime in the future, their DNA is in the database and we can figure out that crime a lot quicker," he explains. "If that DNA evidence is there, and now someone gets tested and it matches, that's a way we can solve a crime."

Some may call it an invasion of privacy.

But Sgt Snyder disagrees.

"It's not like we're taking random people off of the street and saying, 'hey we're going to swab you for your DNA,' he says. "It's just helping us build that database, which can help us solve crimes."

But it's not going to be easy.

In fact, it's going to take a lot of extra work.  

"It's going to be a lot of effort. It's going to take a little longer with the booking process to get that [DNA]," says Sgt. Snyder.

Although there is no set plan in place so far, he expects a lot of the work to fall on the sheriff's department.

He believes, they will be the ones responsible for collecting the DNA, sending it to the Indiana State Police lab, and getting everything settled.

But Sgt. Snyder says, it'll hopefully all be worth it.

"I think if we look at the big picture, which is solving crimes, it's going to be worth all of the man hours that goes into it," he says simply. 

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