Dakota County begins DNA collection

Published 9:56 am Monday, August 3, 2015

HASTINGS — A county south of the Twin Cities begins collecting DNA samples from people arrested and charged with violent crimes.

Previously an individual had to be convicted before a DNA sample could be collected. But a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 changed that. Beginning Monday, Dakota County will collect DNA from adults and juveniles charged with violent crimes, including murder, manslaughter, assault, robbery, burglary and kidnapping.

The samples will then be sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis and entry into databases.

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Opponents are concerned the DNA will be treated as criminal evidence. But Sheriff Tim Leslie says DNA collection would be much like taking fingerprints. It’s not very evasive. It’s a cotton swab in the mouth. If a person is cleared of charges, the DNA information would be removed.