Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police, today announced two more milestones for Maryland’s DNA database, supporting its role as an invaluable tool to law enforcement in the ongoing effort to reduce crime, apprehend criminals, and exonerate the innocent.
Maryland’s DNA database, housed at the State Police Forensic Sciences Division laboratory, has now recorded 7,000 positive comparisons, or “hits,” as they are commonly referred to. A positive comparison occurs when DNA obtained from a crime victim or scene is matched with either DNA from a known offender sample or DNA from another crime scene. Matches occur using CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System, which enables access to both the Maryland DNA database and the National DNA database.
On April 3, 2019, scientists at the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division forwarded information to detectives at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office that the 7,000th positive DNA comparison through the use of Maryland’s DNA database was connected to an open 2003 rape case they are investigating. The offender sample in this case was collected in South Carolina. This hit demonstrates how the DNA database plays a crucial role in solving crimes from older unsolved cases as well as from cases that cross jurisdictions and borders. Specifics in this case cannot be made known at this time because the investigation is ongoing and the suspect has not been charged.
Maryland’s DNA database was established by law in 1994 and the first positive comparison occurred in 1998. It was eight years later, in August 2006, when State Police scientists reached the 500th hit. Twenty-three months later, the 1,000th hit was recorded in July 2008. Fifteen months later, in October 2009, another 500 positive comparisons were reached. The 2,000th positive comparison mark was reached in January 2011. The 3,000th positive comparison was made in June of 2013. The 4,000th positive comparison occurred in May 2015. The 5,000thpositive comparison was made in September 2016. The 6,000th positive comparison was made in January 2018.
As of mid-April 2019, there were 131,057 Maryland convicted offender DNA profiles in CODIS. Current Maryland law requires all persons convicted of a felony, fourth degree burglary, or breaking/entering of a motor vehicle to submit a DNA sample that becomes part of the DNA database.
On January 1, 2009, legislation took effect that requires those arrested and charged with qualifying violent crimes, or 1st, 2nd, and 3rd degree burglaries and attempts to commit those crimes, to submit a DNA sample. These type of samples are called “arrestee samples” and hits to these samples are referred to as “arrestee hits”. As of mid-April 2019, there were 40,788 DNA profiles from arrestee samples in the Maryland DNA database. In addition to recording the 7,000th total hit, Maryland’s DNA database has now recorded its 1,000th arrestee hit.
On March 12, 2019, scientists at the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division forwarded information to detectives at the Anne Arundel County Police Department that the 1,000th arrestee hit within the Maryland DNA database was connected to an open 2018 sexual assault case they are investigating. Specifics in this case cannot be made known at this time because the investigation is ongoing.
The success of the statewide DNA database is due to the diligent efforts and cooperation of many individuals. They include the personnel of the Maryland State Police Forensic Sciences Division and those in local police DNA laboratories, as well as the cooperative collection efforts by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, sheriff’s offices and detention centers across the state, and Maryland’s district and circuit court systems.