Arizona DPS gets faster DNA-processing equipment

May 14, 2014, 5:00 AM | Updated: 5:00 am

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety has some new equipment it says will help speed up its investigations.

The equipment is called Rapid DNA Instruments, and DPS Crime Laboratory Superintendent Vince Figarelli said it allows officers to process DNA samples on their own so they can make preliminary identifications without having to send it to the crime lab first.

“It’s a huge improvement because what an officer normally has to do is submit it from their agency, (which) brings it to DPS and then, depending on the type of case, it’s in a backlog of DNA cases here at the laboratory,” he said.

Figarelli said the equipment can process DNA samples in about 90 minutes, which he said could then allow investigators to link suspects and evidence faster and potentially save lives.

“The whole point is to get the investigative lead as soon as possible to the detective so that that individual doesn’t commit any further crimes,” he said.

In addition to the faster processing of DNA samples, Figarelli said the department has introduced a new database of arrested or convicted offenders in Arizona that officers can search while using the new DNA equipment.

Figarelli said it’s another helpful tool because to cross check a DNA sample involves entering it into the national database known as CODIS — or the Combined DNA Index System — which can only be used after full processing from a crime lab.

Now, officers can do a preliminary search of Arizona samples, which makes up a large percent of DPS requests.

“Approximately 90 percent of our hits are within Arizona,” he said.

Officers must be trained to use the equipment, and Figarelli said 10 officers so far have completed a training course — with more courses will follow.

DPS currently has one rapid instrument in Phoenix, but Figarelli said its adding two more in Tucson and in Flagstaff.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Hilton Family Holocaust Education Center, Phoenix...

Balin Overstolz McNair

1st permanent Holocaust museum to be built in Phoenix

The Arizona Jewish Historical Society on Tuesday announced plans to build the first permanent Holocaust education center in Phoenix.

2 hours ago

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signs a petition that would expand abortion rights in the state if on the ...

Heidi Hommel

Arizona Gov. Hobbs signs abortion rights petition, reaffirms desire for more access

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs wants to see abortion rights enshrined in the state constitution, but took a ceremonial step Tuesday in making sure the issue was on the ballot next year.

2 hours ago

Construction of the Manzana mixed-use project in Phoenix is expected to start in early 2025....

Kevin Stone

Manzana, an eye-catching mixed-use project, coming to Phoenix’s Roosevelt Row

An eye-catching mixed-use project called Manzana is coming to the Roosevelt Row Arts District in downtown Phoenix.

2 hours ago

A selection of Frito-Lay products. The snack food giant signed a 10-year lease on a facility in Gil...

Kevin Stone

Companies building Frito-Lay facility in Gilbert get $12M construction loan

The companies developing a shipping and distribution center for Frito-Lay in Gilbert have obtained a $12 million construction loan.

2 hours ago

Stock image of police tape and file photo of a Glendale, Arizona, police department cruiser....

2 hospitalized with gunshot wounds after domestic dispute, police standoff in Glendale

One victim and one suspect were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Tuesday after a domestic dispute and police standoff in Glendale.

8 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Tempe Festival of the Arts returning this weekend to Mill Avenue

A decades-long tradition is returning to Tempe this weekend to bring together the community, art and food.

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.


Dierdre Woodruff

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.

Arizona DPS gets faster DNA-processing equipment