Commissioner's DNA "on file" ?

     If you haven't been the victim of a crime as of late, consider yourself lucky.

     And if you have been the victim of a crime, this year, you might remember this!


     Apparently, the Fort Lauderdale Police now routinely take the victim's  DNA at a crime scene.

                        current and former Fort Lauderdale Chiefs

     That happened a month ago to Spirit Airline's pilot Tim Helms, when a burglar broke into his screened back porch and stole tools and his lawn mower.

     When the Cops arrived, they took Helm's DNA. Though the Police Officer got Helm's written permission for his DNA sample, Helms was still taken aback. Helms called me and asked - "what's up with that, Tim?"

     Turns out the Police are taking an "exclusion sample" to rule out the homeowners' DNA from a possible suspect's. Helms didn't remember the explanation, but seemed somewhat relieved when told.

     And last week, Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom was also swabbed, when her car was broken into in her driveway overnight.

     Rodstrom says she also found the procedure "odd" and plans on asking some questions about the new procedure at the next Commission meeting like .....   "is my DNA on file?"


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  • 7/6/2012 10:49 AM Dennis Ulmer wrote:
    I've been a big proponent of DNA testing for crimes other than rapes and murders since I first learned of it several years ago. It was a problem at first for the FLPD getting the DNA lab work done, but that problem has been resolved. I'm glad that this topic will be bought to light when Vice Mayor Rodstrom asks about it at the meeting of the City Commission
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  • 7/6/2012 11:27 AM Valigator wrote:
    If ever there was a city who has the ability to function "ass-backwards" as they say its this one. Wasnt it just last year I read where the crime lab was shut down due to lack of funds? It has always been my opinion that when a person is arrested under a felony count that the first rule of thumb would be to take a swab, collect the DNA and cross-run that thru a universial database. Think how many (repeat offenders) could be kept under lock and key and how many victim counts could be decreased. But No, our police department wants to pay to run, store and collect the Victims DNA, leaves ya shaking your head. Did any of the two persons profiled above ask "how long will my DNA be kept on record? Whats the cost?What happens if I refuse, and more important.."have you people lost your minds"???
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  • 7/6/2012 3:38 PM Marge wrote:
    My question much does this procedure COST????
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  • 7/6/2012 3:39 PM Rebella wrote:
    I took a tour of our Police Station and it unnerves me to think we are storing people's precious DNA there.I think there should be a full airing of this entire affair and thanks Tim for bringing it to light.
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  • 7/6/2012 4:00 PM Capt John Dale wrote:
    Mr. Smith,
    The concerns you raise regarding the use of elimination DNA swabs from victims are certainly understandable. As many are probably aware, advancements in forensic science now allow law enforcement to more fully utilize DNA evidence to identify criminals and clear the innocent. In years past, such evidence was reserved for only the most serious violent crimes. Currently, all DNA testing for our department is conducted at the Broward Sheriff's Office. Recent upgrades to their lab and the availability of grant funding has made the use of DNA evidence to solve property crimes a more viable option. Agencies that use DNA testing for this purpose have been able to significantly increase the number of cases solved.

    To better serve the public, officers with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department have been trained to collect DNA evidence potentially left by a suspect. Once a sample is collected, investigators are often left with an unknown profile that may belong to a victim and/or a suspect. Victims may be ruled out through the use of "elimination" swabs. Once a victim’s DNA profile is removed from the equation, the suspect sample may be entered into the database for further comparison.

    I have been assured by managers of the BSO lab that victim elimination swabs are NOT uploaded into the national DNA database (CODIS) and they are NOT stored for later use. The swabs and their results are only kept until such time they are no longer needed for use in the criminal case for which they were taken.

    It is also the policy of the lab not to test suspect samples until such time that elimination swabs have been obtained. This procedure serves to ensure a sample taken from a crime scene is not wrongfully uploaded into the database as a suspect when in fact it belongs to a victim.


    John Dale
    Criminal Investigations Division
    Fort Lauderdale Police Department
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    1. 7/6/2012 11:11 PM Dennis Ulmer wrote:
      Thanks, Captain Dale. As I previously posted, I am a proponent of DNA testing for all types of crime. Your explanation of this process clears up a lot of questions. I commend the Fort Lauderdale Police Department for using this technology. I thought that all the citizens and neighborhoods were interested in reducing crime? Again, I support our city and the police department for looking at ways to stay at the forefront of new ways to use technology to get the criminals off of our streets.
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  • 7/6/2012 4:17 PM volcom wrote:
    typical politician talking about something he does not have a clue about.
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  • 7/9/2012 7:55 AM Pragmatist wrote:
    ""It is also the policy of the lab not to test suspect samples until such time that elimination swabs have been obtained. This procedure serves to ensure a sample taken from a crime scene is not wrongfully uploaded into the database as a suspect when in fact it belongs to a victim."'
    Nothin for nothin but that was the ultimate weasel clause Mr. Dale. I am not alone when I say or think that misappropiation of an innocent persons DNA being "accidently" uploaded is a viable consideration.(we are talkin Fort Lauderdale PD right)? The prudent thing to do would be to take DNA on all felony arrest Period. Lets start there before we attempt the back door proposal you are doing now.
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  • 7/12/2012 3:03 PM City Activist Robert Walsh wrote:
    I mean if you have a break in like they are referring to, its not like a murder investigation. You report a crime, get your case number, and pass on the DNA swab. Your investagation will be compromised if you don't let them take the swab(come on). . Then what am I hearing you can't be ruled out as a suspect, if you don't comply.No DNA from Robert walsh,. Sounds like the "victim" is being put through the ringer after expirenceing a B/E-whatever. In my case perticularlly they all ready have my prints and my mug-shots -huh Tim...So why comply.
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