PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – In an effort to speed up investigations for lower-level crimes, the Vancouver Police Department is hoping to get its own DNA machine.
Kim Kapp, with the Vancouver Police Department, says each week all DNA samples collected by VPD officers are sent to the state’s crime lab, which can be problematic when it comes to solving crimes in a reasonable amount of time.
“Even on higher priority crimes, we can have months of waiting on the lab just to get into the que because this is state wide law enforcement all send our samples to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab,” Kapp explained.
Kapp told KOIN 6 News a rapid DNA machine would cost about $500,000 and could process a DNA sample in about an hour and a half. It would also hold a DNA database — something Kapp says could help catch serial criminals who roam from one area to the next. The machine also has the potential to eliminate someone as a suspect.
KOIN 6 News learned that a rapid DNA sample would only be used to help detectives gather leads and piece together an investigation –- it would not be used as the sole source of DNA evidence in a prosecution.
Unlike the equipment in the state’s lab, the rapid machine is small enough to fit on a desk. Kapp said VPD would also let law enforcement in surrounding communities use it. Now, all that is left, is finding the money for it.
“Right now we’re looking at opportunities for grant funding, if those come about, and we can apply for those if we meet the criteria,” Kapp said.
KOIN 6 News reached out to Vancouver mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle’s office, however she was in Washington D.C. recently where she met with Washington State congressional representatives who are working to get federal funding for the machine.