Thursday, July 21, 2011

KCPD Crime Lab is first in nation approved to use "expert system" in DNA analysis in cases

The FBI has approved the Kansas City Regional Crime Lab as the first municipal lab in the nation to use an "Expert System" for the review of known DNA samples. Essentially, an expert system eliminates the need for an additional person to review technical data involved with analyzing DNA. The computer system does it instead. The hope is that this will dramatically reduce the lab's DNA backlog. We received the formal approval from the FBI last month and will go live with the system in the next month or two. To date, only state-wide crime laboratories used this technology to assist in analyzing already-convicted offenders.

Kansas City will be the first to use expert systems on known DNA reference samples in active cases. For example, if DNA is found in a home that has been burglarized, the known sample would come from the home's residents, whose DNA would of course be on items throughout the house. The unknown sample would come from the burglar. We used known DNA samples to eliminate many suspects in the 2009-10 serial rapes in the Waldo area.

Our crime lab gets 2,000 to 3,000 known DNA samples every year. And as we continue to train officers and detectives to take DNA samples in things like property crimes, those will only increase. The good news is, this new expert system will allow our Crime Lab's DNA analysts to keep up with them all.

The Kansas City Regional Crime Lab received a grant from the National Institutes of Justice to explore ways to increase efficiency in DNA laboratories in new and innovative ways. The expert system was the result. Our scientists have worked a long time to thoroughly evaluate the efficacy and accuracy of the system, and we have utmost confidence in its work. The analysts are excited to put it to use, reduce the backlog and ultimately get cases solved and justice delivered more quickly.

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