Posted at: 02/28/2013 5:55 PM
| Updated at: 02/28/2013 6:12 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann
JOHNSTOWN - To show how simple the DNA collection kit is for getting samples from criminal offenders, Fulton County District Attorney Louise Sira collected one from reporter Beth Wurtmann, complete with a cotton swab and fingerprints.
Problem is, she said, not all convicted criminals are getting one as required by law, because court officers aren't allowed to take samples right at the courthouse.
"The message coming from the administrative law judge's office is that the court officers upstate, particularly in Gloversville City Court, will not take DNA," Sira said.
Instead, convicted criminals who aren't sentenced to jail or probation are directed to the Sheriff's office on their own. Gloversville Police Chief said 40% never make it.
"If any individual who believe their DNA may be in the system for a previously unsolved crime isn't going to come directly to the police department they're going to take one of those two exit doors and we're going to have to chase them," said Chief Donald VanDeusen, Gloversville Police.
In Gloversville, when a convicted criminal passes by court officers, they can take one of two exits. Down this hallway and this one. Never stopping by the police department to give their DNA.
Sira said over a 100 offenders haven't registered their DNA. She and the police chief have both urged the Office of Court Administration to relent.
An OCA spokesman said they don't have the resources to do the sampling, because the primary mission is to maintain safety in the court.
Sira said she's trained her staff to take the DNA as a stop gap. Fearing that without it, fewer crimes will be solved.
"If you're the victim of a crime, you could wait potentially for years and years and years until a more efficient system comes through and takes their DNA," she added.
But the OCA spokesman said Fulton County officials shouldn't be second guessing a collection system that is effective.