Kentucky Honored to Lead on Rapid DNA Testing
Yet again, Kentucky is receiving national recognition for innovation and leadership in criminal justice. This time it’s for a new technology project that could radically enhance investigations into sexual assault and speed up justice for victims of these heinous crimes.
Kentucky State Police Forensics Laboratories announced the pilot project – called Rapid DNA – in April, making Kentucky the first state in the nation to use this testing approach for evidence in sexual assault cases. KSP partnered with ANDE Corporation, which pioneered the rapid DNA technology and provided it to the lab.
So far, results are promising.
The ANDE Rapid DNA Identification System (pictured at top) uses methods that mirror conventional evidence testing. However, the process and data interpretation are automatic, drastically reducing turnaround times. The technique can generate a DNA fingerprint within hours, compared to weeks or months under the traditional method.
That means law enforcement could soon have real-time DNA results to identify suspects or exonerate the falsely accused. Rapid DNA is also poised to prevent backlogs of sexual assault evidence kits from ever piling up again.
This is a critical breakthrough for law enforcement and prosecutors at a time when juries are more demanding of DNA evidence for criminal convictions. More importantly, rapid DNA will help victims secure the justice they deserve at a much faster pace, and it will help police capture sexual predators before they commit more crimes.
Following the announcement in April, the nation took notice. The project has received media coverage in USA Today, the Washington Examiner, the Associated Press and CNBC. Many people deserve praise.
Gov. Matt Bevin, who identified sexual assault kits as a high priority from the start of his administration, has remained a steadfast advocate for the lab and budgeted millions in funding to expand staff and resources.
Likewise, KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders has been a strong supporter of innovation at the state police over the past three years, and I’m proud of his leadership on this issue, like many others.
Lab Director Laura Sudkamp has also dedicated tremendous effort and has displayed unparalleled knowledge and passion. She and her staff have committed countless hours to clear the backlog of sexual assault kits, and they deserve our gratitude.
It’s also exciting to partner with the dynamic team at ANDE Corporation and watch how this technology is revolutionizing investigations.
While Kentucky is honored to spearhead this effort, I suspect it is only the beginning. Experts predict this technology will be standard in crime labs across the country in only a few years. No wonder the nation is watching.