According to this Office of Justice Assistance report, 415,543 arrests were made in 2008, equivalent to roughly 7% of Wisconsin’s 5.6 million population. About 100,000 of those arrests were of juveniles.
Based on legislation proposed by Reps. Sheila Harsdorf and Ann Hraychuck, law enforcement officials would be required to collect DNA at every one of these arrests.
Here are some of the crimes that one can be arrested for that Harsdorf and Hraychuck would require DNA collection for: murder, rape, robbery aggravated assault, arson, drug possession and sale.
So far, so good. These all are crimes that you would expect DNA to be useful in helping to convict or exonerate the person arrested.
Here are some more crimes that law enforcement would be required to collect DNA upon arrest: forgery, fraud, vandalism, weapon law violation, gambling, DWI, liquor law violations, disorderly conduct, vagrancy, family offenses, runaways.
Hmm. Your 15 year old gets busted for cutting class or staying out too late and breaking your town’s curfew and suddenly the state’s collecting her DNA. Or you get into an argument with your neighbor, someone calls the cops, and you’re required to provide DNA. Or you’re driving home after happy hour and get pulled over for speeding. Suddenly you’re being booked for drunk driving and giving a DNA sample.
Setting aside the fact that this is an unnecessary privacy violation, the sheer volume of collecting and managing these samples poses serious financial and staffing challenges.
Van Hollen’s DOJ couldn’t keep track of all the DNA samples they currently have. How are they going to manage over 400,000 samples? Can the WI crime labs even handle such a volume?
I can see police, DOJ and crime lab budgets growing as I write.
I guess this is good news for those seeking jobs in law enforcement. Not so good news for taxpayers.