The NYS DNA Databank and CODIS

CODIS: Combined DNA Index System

The New York State DNA Databank became operational in August 1996, with the first hit, or match, linking an offender with DNA evidence from a crime scene in February 2000.

The Databank is part of the national Combined DNA Index System, known as CODIS. A searchable software program, CODIS provides for the sharing of DNA information among local, state and national databases.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) serves as the national – NDIS – connection, linking New York State (SDIS) with other participating states.  New York’s SDIS connection is in turn linked to eight local – LDIS – connections. This tiered approach allows for information sharing among federal, state and local agencies while allowing those agencies to operate their respective DNA database according to applicable federal and state laws and local policies.

New York State has eight local DNA laboratories that process forensic evidence from crime scenes and create a numeric sequence – a DNA profile – from the forensic evidence. All local laboratories maintain a Forensic Index, which is comprised of those DNA profiles; those profiles are routinely compared with each other in order to identify and link crimes that may have the same perpetrator.

The New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center (FIC) is a local laboratory, processing forensic evidence from crime scenes and converting that evidence into numeric DNA profile. It also serves as the SDIS laboratory for New York State,  home to a Forensic Index that contains crime scene DNA profile processed at the FIC and the seven other local laboratories, enabling comparison of those profiles across the state and country.

Public Forensic DNA Laboratories in New York State (LDIS Sites)

  • Erie County Department of Central Police Services Forensic Laboratory
  • Monroe County Public Safety Laboratory
  • Nassau County Office of the Medical Examiner Division of Forensic Services  
  • New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner Department of Forensic Biology
  • New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center
  • Onondaga County Center for Forensic Sciences
  • Suffolk County Crime Laboratory
  • Westchester County Department of Laboratories & Research Division of Forensic Sciences

NYS DNA Databank graphic

The State Police Forensic Investigation Center  also maintains New York State’s Convicted Offender Index, which contains DNA profiles from offenders convicted of crimes detailed in law and DNA profiles from offenders convicted of crimes whose DNA was collected pursuant to the state’s Subject Index regulations (9 NYCRR section 6192.1(z) and (aa)).

DNA profiles from convicted offenders are   routinely compared with DNA profiles from crime scene evidence contained in the state’s Forensic Index to determine if  those convicted offenders are linked to crime scene evidence. Comparisons occur within the State, as well as among states, through the national CODIS system.

The New York State DNA Databank Law and Qualifying Offenses:

The DNA Databank began limited operations in 1996. DNA samples were collected from individuals convicted of homicide and certain sex-related offenses. Since that time, the law that created the Databank has been amended five times to expand the number of crimes that require a DNA sample upon conviction.

The latest expansion took effect on August 1, 2012. Effective that date, offenses include all felonies in any state law and Penal Law misdemeanors. The law applies to any defendant convicted on or after August 1, 2012.

The law is not retroactive and does not apply to children involved in Family Court matters, to youthful offenders or to first-time offenders convicted of a specific subsection of fifth-degree marijuana possession (Penal Law Section 221.10, subsection 1).

 

DNA Databank Statistics

(October 2014)

Offender DNA Profiles
Designated Offender Profiles 505,881
Subject Index Offender Profiles 35,460
Total Number of DNA Profiles 541,341
 
Forensic/Crime Scene DNA Profiles
State DNA Index System 48,460
 
DNA Databank Hits
Offender Hits
State DNA Index System 14,510
National DNA Index System 2,999
Forensic Case to Case Hits
State DNA Index System 292
National DNA Index System 327
Local DNA Index System 46
Combined DNA Index System Hits 18,174
 
Investigations Aided* 18,791

 

*CODIS generates investigative leads in cases where biological evidence is recovered from the crime scene. Matches made among profiles in the Forensic Index can link crime scenes together, possibly identifying serial offenders.  Matches made between the Forensic and Offender Indexes provide investigators with the identity of a suspected perpetrator(s). The term “Investigations Aided” includes case-to-case matches as well as forensic to offender matches.