CODIS Program

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CODIS stands for COmbined DNA Index System, a computer software program that operates local, state, and national DNA databases. The software was established and funded by the FBI and was developed to enable public forensic laboratories to create searchable databases of authorized DNA profiles.

Laboratories throughout the country share and compare DNA profiles through the national database known as the National DNA Index System, which is managed by the FBI. All comparisons are conducted electronically.

The goals are to link crimes to each other and identify potential suspects by matching DNA profiles from crime scenes with profiles from convicted offenders and arrestees. Thousands of CODIS matches have linked cases and many cases have been solved by matching crime scene evidence to convicted offender profiles. Searches are conducted and matches are returned to the submitting laboratory.

All profiles entered into CODIS remain indefinitely and are searched every time a new entry is added.

CODIS ENTRY CRITERIA

All profiles produced in the Mesa PD laboratory are entered into and searched against the Mesa local DNA database. CODIS entries to be searched against the state and national databases can only be made from DNA evidence collected at a crime scene and that can be attributed to the perpetrator of the crime. DNA profiles from victims cannot be searched against the database.

DNA obtained from items that are in the possession of the suspect cannot be searched against the database (even if it is evidence of the crime). All eligible profiles developed by our laboratory will automatically be entered.

A Scientific Examination Report is issued when a "hit" in the CODIS system occurs.

CONFIRMATION KNOWNS NEEDED: In the case of a CODIS "hit," a known DNA sample from the suspect (unless one has already been collected by a member of the Mesa Police Department) needs to be obtained as a confirmation sample.

WHY? Samples collected for entry into the CODIS database are not evidence (no chain of custody exists). CODIS hits are rarely allowed to be discussed in court. Known samples run by our laboratory can be discussed. Known samples are needed by our laboratory for analysts to testify that the individual matches the crime scene evidence and to offer statistics of the match.