The Nevada Senate voted unanimously Monday to have law enforcement begin taking DNA samples from every person arrested on felony charges.
Senate Bill 243 was dubbed Brianna’s law in honor of Brianna Denison, who was murdered in Reno in 2008. Both her family and numerous law enforcement officials have said DNA testing of those who are arrested could have prevented her rape and murder.
Sponsor Sen. Debbie Smith, D-Sparks, told the body SB243 would create a database of DNA samples to give law enforcement the ability to compare the DNA of those arrested with samples from unsolved crimes.
“Data tells you that a small number of criminals in our society commit the vast majority of heinous crimes,” she said.
Smith said it will decrease the number of murders, rapes, assaults and other crimes. She pointed to a Chicago study of eight convicted felons saying that, if their DNA had been taken upon their first arrests, some 60 crimes including 53 rapes and murders could have been prevented.
Sen. Greg Brower, R-Reno, said of the sampling, “This is simply the fingerprinting of the 21st century.”
He and Smith pointed out that if the person arrested is ultimately not charged, the DNA sample is destroyed and expunged from the system. They said if the person is not convicted, he or she also can get the sample removed from the database.