By Alex Schuman
One of the new bills signed into law by Gov. Terry Branstad, R-IA, this week will require criminals of lesser offenses to start submitting their DNA to the state's database.
Originally, only convicted felons and sex offenders were required to give a sample, but now people convicted of certain types of aggravated misdemeanors will also be included.
"It's an excellent tool," said Paul Bush, Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation's DNA Unit supervisor.
Already this year, investigators entered 83,000 profile searches resulting in over 1,300 matches. The inclusion of these new samples will nearly double the number of samples available for people like Bush to search through.
"I know by us processing or sampling more convicted offenders, we will have more hits and will solve more crimes," said Bush.
Some of the samples will come from prisoners, but the Polk County Sheriff's Office is expected to contribute the most.
DCI takes DNA samples by putting a cotton swab inside a person's mouth and cheek. Their sampling system cannot test a person for anything medical, and the person's information will remain private when entered into the national database.
"It does make a substantial difference," said Tom Miller, Iowa Attorney General. "Including the difference potentially to exonerate the people who are innocent."