MBTA to swap spit with FBI database

by jeeg 10. November 2011 01:57

DNA profiles of saliva evidence taken as part of a new transit police crackdown on spitting assaults against MBTA workers will be stored indefinitely in an FBI-run databank, authorities said yesterday.

The Herald reported yesterday that T police now plan to use DNA kits to swab the spittle of barbaric riders who expectorate on the face or body of bus drivers and other frontline transit workers in an effort to identify the offender.

The samples will be tested at either the Boston or state police crime labs and results will be cross-referenced with the state’s DNA database, which contains profiles from more than 94,000 convicted felons.

Deputy Transit Police Chief Lewis Best said yesterday chemists at both labs will enter the DNA results from the saliva samples into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, better known as CODIS.

Boston Police Department spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said yesterday that test reports and case records prepared by its lab are “maintained indefinitely” and that the only database it uses is CODIS.

According to the FBI’s website, CODIS serves as a national DNA index for federal, state and local crime labs “to foster the exchange and comparison of forensic DNA evidence from violent crime investigations.”

“DNA profiles stay in the national DNA Index System indefinitely unless they are expunged in accordance with state or federal law,” said Special Agent Ann Todd.

Bus drivers and other T workers who are victims of spitting assaults will be asked to voluntarily submit DNA samples through cheek swabs. But those samples will be used only for comparison and will not be entered into any database, police said.

John Lee, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, which is backing the T police initiative, said yesterday his union hall fielded dozens of calls from “curious” bus drivers. “No negativity yet. People have been pretty positive,” Lee said.

Richard Weir, Boston Herald

 

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