December 14, 1998 NYC Wants DNA in All Arrests ______________________________________________________________ Filed at 3:20 p.m. EST By The Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) -- Despite objections from civil libertarians, the city's police commissioner proposed Monday to take a DNA sample along with the fingerprints of everyone arrested. Commissioner Howard Safir said the test would solve crimes and help curb repeat offenders. ``The innocents have nothing to fear ... only if you are guilty should you worry about DNA testing,'' he said. The New York Civil Liberties Union contends that arrest is not sufficient grounds for forced collection of DNA. But Safir has said that civil libertarians should support the plan because DNA has been used to clear innocent people. Under Safir's plan, the police would take a swabbing from inside a suspect's cheek -- a standard method of collecting DNA - and put test results into a database for future reference. Legal and forensics experts say DNA is as reliable as fingerprints. Many states allow DNA testing of certain convicts, New York among them. Only in Louisiana does the testing apply to people under arrest. Safir's plan would require action by the state Legislature to become reality. In Britain, where DNA samples are taken from every suspect, officials have solved 17 major cases using such data since 1995, according to the National Institute of Justice Journal. _________________________________________________________________ Copyright 1998 The New York Times Company The information contained in this AP Online news report may not be republished or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
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