GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Jails in the Green Bay area are taking on the responsibility of collecting DNA samples from people arrested for violent felonies as part of a new Wisconsin law.
The law on taking DNA samples after arrest took effect last week, and it includes felonies such as homicide, sexual assault, burglary, robbery and child abuse. Before the new law, DNA samples were collected only from convicted felons and sex offenders.
Police officers won’t be taking DNA samples in Green Bay-area counties, Press-Gazette Media reports. Brown County Sheriff John Gossage said the department would wait until an arrestee is booked, rather than have an officer do it on the street “in an uncontrolled environment.”
The DNA samples wouldn’t be processed until a judge finds there’s probable cause a crime was committed.
Sheriff’s departments don’t expect to need to hire anyone for DNA collections, and Gossage said the test is paid for by the state. The law also requires DNA collection from anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.
Gossage said Brown County could collect hundreds more DNA samples with the new misdemeanor requirement. Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski said he doesn’t think there will be a big increase in the amount of work.
“Our numbers will be limited, but we see the same individuals over and over, so once we have them on file, we don’t have to continually take new samples,” he said.
The DNA samples must be sent to the Wisconsin Department of Justice. The agency expects to get 25,000 samples from felony arrests and 43,000 samples from misdemeanor convictions this year as a result of the new law.