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$1.5 Million Going to DPS Next Year to Expand Rapid DNA Testing

By: Briana Whitney

Published: May. 30, 2023

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- $1.5 million is heading to DPS next year for one thing in particular: rapid DNA testing. In a world where DNA technology is advancing faster than ever, DPS said these rapid machines could make the difference in catching violent criminals who have slipped through the cracks.

We’re talking about making a DNA identification in a matter of 60 minutes versus 60 days. It’s a night and day comparison. When time is of the essence for solving any major crime, this will make a big difference when somebody is arrested. “We didn’t even have DNA back 32 years ago. We were just starting right after I started,” said Vince Figarelli, the superintendent of the DPS crime lab.

Figarelli worked his way up since starting in the lab in the early 90s. He’s watched the evolution of DNA and said that more than ever, rapid DNA testing is needed, and they will use that chunk of money for more. “The rapid DNA is an instrument where you can get a DNA profile within 1.5 to 2 hours,” he said.

What is the difference between the tests? He said regular DNA testing can take months. However, all cases have an average DPS DNA turnaround time of 60-65 days. Figarelli said the state has nine rapid DNA testing machines, each costing $150,000, and they’re all connected to a database of those who have been arrested.

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