New technology gives local police faster DNA results

Author: , Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 19 2013 05:00:21 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 19 2013 06:59:51 PM EST
BENSALEM, Pa. -

Imagine being able to crack cases in minutes instead of months.

A police department in Bucks County on Tuesday rolled out a DNA program that's a first for the entire country, and Lehigh Valley investigators are taking notice.

In 2012, the Bensalem Police Department started to establish a local DNA data base to help solve property crimes. It took 30 days to get a test result. Now, that time has been drastically reduced.

"This is amazing technology," said Ofc. Fred Harran. "We're the first in the United States to execute this type of technology."

The department is using a lab set up by Virginia-based, Bode Technology. Now, investigators can get DNA results in 90 minutes.

"This is a pilot study to prove that DNA can help with the investigation in real time," said Amy Jeanguenat, director of forensic operations at Bode Technology.

The cost of the machine is a one-time $100,000, and each test costs up to $100.

Law enforcement leaders are trying to get more municipalities on board to keep the program going.

So far, 12 other police departments are close to signing an agreement to use the system.

Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler is hoping his counterparts in the region will join, as well.

I've spoken with my fellow suburban DAs in Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County, and with the folks in the Lehigh Valley," added Heckler. "There is enormous interest."

The test program ends in two weeks, but Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Northampton County Ddistrict Attorney John Morganelli said they like the idea of rapid DNA testing.

They just want to hear more about the program and the cost to tax payers.