Palm Bay Police Nail Crooks With DNA Evidence

By  //  February 25, 2014

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first-ever application of rapid DNA technology

ABOVE VIDEO: During the last year, the Palm Bay Police Department Criminal Investigations Division has been working with California-based IntegenX, maker of the RapidHIT 200, using actual crime scene evidence samples to test and validate the equipment’s accuracy and reliability.

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – In the first-ever application of rapid DNA technology in a criminal investigation, the Palm Bay Police Department, working closely with the State Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit, is ready to use DNA profiles obtained from the RapidHIT 200 in a criminal prosecution.

In the first-ever application of rapid DNA technology in a criminal investigation, the Palm Bay Police Department, working closely with the State Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit, is ready to use DNA profiles obtained from the RapidHIT 200 in a criminal prosecution. (PBPD image)

In the first-ever application of rapid DNA technology in a criminal investigation, the Palm Bay Police Department, working closely with the State Attorney’s Office for the 18th Judicial Circuit, is ready to use DNA profiles obtained from the RapidHIT 200 in a criminal prosecution. (PBPD image)

RapidHIT 200 is one of two stand-alone devices available in the world that can produce DNA profiles in less than 90-minutes.

During the last year, the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) has been working with California-based IntegenX, maker of the RapidHIT 200, using actual crime scene evidence samples to test and validate the equipment’s accuracy and reliability.

The burglars broke into the home and stole approximately $30,000 worth of property including firearms, electronic equipment, computers, TV’s, military equipment including a bulletproof vest, clothing, several guitars and even the cable box.

In January 2014, the CID began processing samples from active cases. Among them was the September 4, 2013 burglary of a home in which the victim was deployed with the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan.

The burglars broke into the home and stole approximately $30,000 worth of property including firearms, electronic equipment, computers, TV’s, military equipment including a bulletproof vest, clothing, several guitars and even the cable box.

The investigation yielded a suspect who was subsequently arrested for the crime based on witness statements and other evidence. A blood sample taken from the scene was run through the RapidHIT 200 which yielded a profile that matched the same suspect who had been arrested and charged with the crime.

PALM-BAY-POLICE-125“What we’ve done is taken actual crime scene evidence, including this burglary case and many others, and processed the samples using the RapidHIT 200,” said Captain Diana Blackledge, who leads the CID and its Rapid DNA program.

“We compared all of the results with those from an accredited lab and they all matched. This validates the device as giving reliable and accurate profiles.”

Palm Bay PD is now using the RapidHIT 200 weekly in an effort to generate investigative leads, eliminate potential suspects and provide evidence to convict offenders in court.

Phil Archer

Phil Archer

“We have met with the Palm Bay Police Department and have been following their progress with rapid DNA processing for more than a year,” said Phil Archer, State Attorney for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida. 

“We are prepared to present this case in court using the evidence they have developed from their program. This case is particularly important as it involves a person victimized while serving our country.”

The Palm Bay Police Department received the RapidHIT 200 in November of 2012. Working with internationally recognized DNA experts, the department processed actual evidence samples with the rapid DNA device. The results were compared against samples processed in an accredited lab and more than 100 samples matched.

NEW TOOL, COOPERATIVE TO COMBAT CRIME

In January, SmallPond, a software product, was added as a new tool to help combat crime. SmallPond is allowing Palm Bay and several local agencies, including Melbourne, West Melbourne and Cocoa Police, to form a cooperative alliance using DNA data to identify suspects who cross jurisdictions to commit their crimes.

The RapidHIT200 combined with SmallPond also helps investigators to immediately exclude persons who may otherwise have been considered suspects. SmallPond allows law enforcement agencies to maintain an independent database which provides redundancy to secure the information. (PBPD image)

The RapidHIT200 combined with SmallPond also helps investigators to immediately exclude persons who may otherwise have been considered suspects. SmallPond allows law enforcement agencies to maintain an independent database which provides redundancy to secure the information. (PBPD image)

These agencies are able to take profiles generated by the RapidHIT 200, have those electropherograms confirmed by an analyst, and directly upload those profiles into the database for comparison.

This keeps the processing time short, which in turn allows police to quickly determine the identity of possible suspects while still conducting an investigation at a crime scene.

The RapidHIT200 combined with SmallPond also helps investigators to immediately exclude persons who may otherwise have been considered suspects. SmallPond allows law enforcement agencies to maintain an independent database which provides redundancy to secure the information.

“We recently used the RapidHIT200 and SmallPond combination to help us determine where within a crime scene involved persons were,” Captain Blackledge added. “It allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of witness statements without having to wait weeks for an answer. This is a great asset when time is critical.”

“We recently used the RapidHIT200 and SmallPond combination to help us determine where within a crime scene involved persons were,” said Captain Blackledge.

“It allowed us to evaluate the accuracy of witness statements without having to wait weeks for an answer. This is a great asset when time is critical.”

Doug Muldoon

Doug Muldoon

“We have a long history of aggressively applying new technologies and we are very comfortable with the reliability and accuracy of the results generated using the RapidHIT 200 and the SmallPond software,” said Chief Doug Muldoon.

“The ability to solve selected crimes in less than a day is essential to protecting the public. The use of this new technology is our paramount responsibility to the community.”

CHIEF DOUG MULDOON: The ability to solve selected crimes in less than a day is essential to protecting the public. (PBPD image)

CHIEF DOUG MULDOON: The ability to solve selected crimes in less than a day is essential to protecting the public. (PBPD image)

IntegenX is based in Pleasanton, California and is a leading developer of rapid human DNA identification technology.

In 2011, the company partnered with the Palm Bay Police Department to field test its RapidHIT200 in the world’s first law enforcement use of the technology.

For more information about IntegenX, contact Tom Driscoll, Vice President for Global Marketing at tomd@integenx.com or 925-474-3386.


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