Press Releases

Press releases are archived according to their release date. For press releases by topic, please see the Issue Positions page.

WASHINGTON—Today the Senate unanimously approved legislation to speed processing of DNA samples and help law enforcement more quickly solve crimes. The bipartisan Rapid DNA Act, sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Dianne Feinstein, D-Cal., and Kristin Gillibrand D-N.Y., updates our nation’s DNA laws to allow properly trained police officers in booking stations and other locations to upload DNA samples to the FBI’s CODIS database so that officers can determine more quickly whether a suspect in custody is connected to a crime or is innocent. The bill also contains important quality assurance protections to safeguard the integrity of the FBI’s database.

Law enforcement leaders across the nation have praised the bill, including FBI Director James Comey, who told the Senate last December that the authority in the bill would “change the world in a very, very exciting way” by allowing law enforcement “to know instantly—or near instantly—whether [a] person is the rapist who’s been on the loose in a particular community before they’re released on bail and get away, or to clear somebody, to show that they’re [innocent].”

“I’m pleased that the Senate has overwhelmingly approved this step towards smarter law enforcement and enabling officials to make faster, better-informed decisions about whether individuals in custody should be held or released,” Senator Hatch said. “This legislation will help keep innocent people out of jail and dangerous criminals off the streets.”

“When an individual is arrested, it can often take months to process their DNA sample to determine whether their DNA profiles match other crimes,” Senator Feinstein said. “The bill will address this delay by requiring the FBI to issue guidelines for local jurisdictions to use standardized Rapid DNA technology. This technology will reduce processing time from months to hours, allowing the police to quickly advance investigations and protect the public.”

“I’m very pleased that our Rapid DNA legislation made it through the Senate,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Rapid DNA technology would give law enforcement the ability to identify suspects of violent crimes more accurately and more quickly, it would help us reduce our DNA backlogs, and it would better protect innocent men and women from being wrongfully accused of crimes. I urge the House to vote on this bill as soon as they can, so we can send it to the President’s desk to be signed into law.”

For a one-pager on the bill, click here.

In December, FBI Director James Comey praised the bill in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. You can find that video here, text of the exchange here