Walker and AG Van Hollen try again for ‘DNA at arrest’ lawGov. Scott Walker and Attorney General JB Van Hollen are joining forces to give new life to a bill that failed to pass the legislature this year. It would require police to collect a DNA sample at the time of arrest instead of waiting until after a conviction.
By: By Gilman Halsted, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Gov. Scott Walker and Attorney General JB Van Hollen are joining forces to give new life to a bill that failed to pass the legislature this year. It would require police to collect a DNA sample at the time of arrest instead of waiting until after a conviction.
The "DNA at arrest" bill ran into opposition from both the Justice Department and many police and sheriff's departments. Cost was the major objection. Law enforcement agencies saw it as an unfunded mandate and the attorney general's office said the estimated $2.6 million cost of implementing it wasn't available in the current budget. But Monday, Gov. Walker promised to put the necessary money in the next budget and convince police and sheriff's it's the right thing to do.
"We haven't worked the exact numbers out, but we're committed to doing it,” he said. “We want law enforcement agencies to be able to do this to be able to comply with so that's our commitment to doing it in the budget starting now so we that can account for those concerns."
Twenty five states already require DNA collection at the time of arrest and Attorney General JB Van Hollen says the state will save money in the long run by shortening the length of investigations. Van Hollen also says writing the law into the budget will allow his staff to make sure that pre conviction DNA sampling does not violate a suspect's privacy rights.
"We have the opportunity now as the Department of Justice to look at all the case law and what the various court's have been deciding in other states and craft legislation to assure that it will pass constitutional and legal muster before the bill is drafted and passed,” Van Hollen said.
The DNA at arrest laws in other states allow someone who is acquitted of a crime to have their DNA sample removed from the DNA data base.