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Bellingham Police Seek Rapid DNA Machine. Here's What it Will do.

By: Robert Mittendorf

Published: February 29th, 2024

The Bellingham Police Department is applying for a federal grant to buy a rapid DNA machine, hoping that it will help solve crimes without the current delays of up to a year at the state lab. A rapid DNA machine can produce results in 90 minutes to two hours, Bellingham Police Chief Rebecca Mertzig told the Bellingham City Council at a meeting Monday night. “I love it when technology catches up with television. Because if you watch “CSI,” those results are probably available within a (60-minute) show. But we’re getting closer and closer to that as being a reality with this technology,” Mertzig said. Mertzig said the machine could be useful in two ways:

▪ In a criminal investigation, the results of DNA evidence from a suspect or person of interest at a crime scene could be entered into a national database to check quickly for a match to a convicted criminal.

▪ For victims, it could provide faster identification of unrecognizable human remains.

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