VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The U.S. Supreme Court now allows law enforcement to take a routine DNA swab upon arrest.
It was sharply divided in a five to four decision. But they say DNA samples can now be taken when people are arrested for certain serious crimes.
"We're trying to solve crimes," said Vigo County Judge, Phillip Adler.
Modern-day fingerprinting. That's what Adler is calling DNA swabs.
"The whole society wants to have a safer community. And to do that we need tools, modern tools, to help law enforcement to catch those people who have committed serious crimes," said Judge Adler.
Police now have the right to swab the inside of the cheek when arresting suspects for serious crimes, such as murder and sexual assault.
That's according to a United State Supreme Court decision.
Swabs are now allowed along with fingerprinting and mugshots. This allows them to run the sample against others stored in the national database.
"We know there have been people who have been freed as a result of DNA evidence, from prison. Including death row. There's also been people who have been charged with crimes that we would never have been able to do without DNA evidence," said Adler.
Here's the only issue.
The only states that can take these samples are ones with the law in place. Right now, Indiana doesn't have a law allowing DNA collection.
"This ruling, while it does allow law enforcement throughout the Untied States to take a DNA swab upon arrest, Indiana law currently does not," Adler said.
But it could be only a matter of time. Next session, it could be approved.
But opponents say they believe the need to protect freedom and constitutional rights trump the crime-solving benefits.
Right now, Indiana law enforcement can swab a suspect for three reasons; a warrant, upon felony conviction, or consent from the suspect.
While many might only see the pros, there is another concern.
"In trying to solve crimes, there's always costs involved," said Judge Adler.
"You would think this would be a monetary impact to law enforcement, you think this would be an impact to our DNA laboratories and such, but we'll worry about that when that time comes," said Indiana State Police Sergeant, Joe Watts.
Right on cue, Thursday’s early winter storm dumped snow and ice on the Wabash Valley but county highway crews were a step ahead of the weather’s arrival pre-treating the 897 miles of pavement in the county.
A fire has engulfed the First Prairie Creek Church in Vigo County.
A four car accident in eastern Vigo County leaves one person dead.
Workers at a new eatery in Terre Haute are preparing to open.
Otter Creek Township is on its way to getting a new fire station.
Knox County Commissioner Don Halter is ahead of the game when it comes to winter weather preparedness. But the man-power may have a hard time running full throttle. The Knox County highway budget took big cuts in 2013.