NYC Opens New DNA Lab

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 26, 2005

NEW YORK – The city plans to ramp up its analysis of DNA evidence by more than 17,000 cases a year thanks to a new government forensics laboratory that opened Wednesday. It was lauded as one of the largest in the country.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials gathered for a ceremony at the Forensic Biology Laboratory of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The city hopes to start analyzing DNA evidence in more than 20,000 cases a year, up from 3,000 a year.

The building cost almost $290 million, and contains 75,000 square feet of lab space.

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Bloomberg said the lab would help the city find wrongdoers, but also rule out innocent people and analyze DNA evidence in crimes other than murder cases, like burglaries. He said the facility would also be used by the Missing Persons group as well as the unit that tries to identify World Trade Center victim remains.

“The technology here is almost limitless,” Bloomberg said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said police officers would be changing their procedures to make gathering DNA a part of more crime scenes.

“We’ll be increasing our obtaining of DNA samples and training people, our evidence collection teams,” he said. “It’s going to be a growth process for the lab and for the police department.”

A service of the Associated Press(AP)