News


Florida Selected to Participate in National DNA Improvement Project

7/31/2007
 
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) today announced that Florida was recently selected to represent the state of Florida in the National Governors Association's (NGA) Center for Best Practices Improving Forensic DNA Policy Project. Florida is one of five states chosen to work with other state teams to share ideas, compare and analyze policy proposals, and gain valuable information in an effort to help states better use forensic DNA analysis to promote public safety. Other states selected include Kentucky, New York, Ohio and Washington.

"Florida is a national leader in using DNA to solve crimes," said Governor Crist. "This important project will keep more criminals off our streets by creating new opportunities to bolster the forensic capabilities of our law enforcement officers."

The goal of the project is to assist governors and other state policymakers in developing strategies to improve the use of and funding for forensic DNA. The project will focus on three key areas: expanding DNA databases to include the collection of evidence from high volume crime; including missing persons and unidentified human remains in DNA databases; and developing sustainable funding for forensic DNA programs.

Florida's team will be chaired by FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey and also include David Coffman, Chief of Forensics for FDLE's Tallahassee Regional Operations Center; Commander Stephanie Stoiloff, Miami-Dade Crime Laboratory; Sheriff Bob White, Pasco County; State Attorney Bernie McCabe, 6th Judicial Circuit; Victims' Rights Coordinator Wendy Hallowell, Office of the Governor; and a legislator appointed by the President of the Florida Senate and the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

"Florida has a solid foundation in place when it comes to using DNA to solve crimes," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "This opportunity will help us look at ways to continue to maximize resources and bring new ideas into play."

State teams will attend a learning lab, in-state policy workshop and receive customized technical assistance from NGA Center and the U.S. Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) experts over the course of a year. The project is made possible through a partnership with NIJ.

Florida's crime laboratory system is comprised of seven regional FDLE laboratories and five local agency laboratories which are located within the Pinellas County Medical Examiner's Office, Miami Dade Police Department, Broward County Sheriff's Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office and the Indian River Regional Crime Laboratory.

For more information on this project, visit www.nga.org/sewp

For more information, contact:

Heather Smith or Kristen Perezluha
FDLE Public Information Office
(850) 410-7001