DENVER (CBS4/AP) — A crime fighting tool that has raised privacy concerns has been fully implemented in Colorado.

Under Colorado’s so-called Katie’s Law, DNA samples are collected from suspected felons when they’re arrested. Previously only people who were convicted of a crime had to submit a sample.

“When we take their DNA and run it through this database, it uncovers all the other crimes they’ve committed where they’ve left their DNA,” said Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey.

katie DNA Samples Matched With 40 Crimes Under Colorado Law

(credit: CBS)

The law is named for Katie Sepich. The 22-year-old college student was raped, strangled and set on fire in New Mexicon in 2003. Her murder was solved using
DNA evidence.

Colorado lawmakers changed the law last year and the state began collecting DNA from anyone arrested in late September. The samples are run against a database of the state’s unsolved crimes.

Officials said Wednesday that nearly 10,000 DNA samples have been added to the database so far. Forty have been matched to crimes ranging from sexual assault to burglary.

When a person is arrested, their cheeks are swabbed. That sample is sent to a lab in Grand Junction and entered into the database. DNA testing is not only used to find the guilty, but exonerate the innocent.

“It’s critical to exonerate people with DNA and it’s critical to do it as soon as you can,” said Sen. Steve King, R-Garfield.

The law requires the DNA sample to be destroyed if charges against a suspect are dismissed.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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