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Yuma County Sheriffs Office rapid DNA matching

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) -  The rapid DNA law enforcement program is coming to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office to help deputies solve more crimes.

Yuma County currently does not have a full-scale forensic DNA analysis lab, requiring cases to be sent to the state crime lab.

Now this new technology will speed up the waiting process.

YCSO is the first site outside of the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas to receive rapid DNA cutting edge technology.

“The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office is excited to have this program here in Yuma County. The effectiveness and timelines of this program is going to really cut down the time that our investigators are waiting on those DNA test results,” said Tania Pavlak, the YCSO public affairs specialist.

Cutting DNA testing time down from several months to just 90 minutes with a simple cheek swab or evidence sample.

Rapid DNA is an expanding technology nationwide and Arizona has been on the forefront since 2014.

“We’ve done over 650 cases in the last 8 years and provided 240 investigative leads. So we’ve wanted to expand for a long time and the Arizona legislature has generously funded this fiscal year, the ability to expand into other counties in Arizona,” said Scott Rex, the Arizona Department of Public Safety crime laboratory manager.

The equipment was purchased through legislative funding to grow the rapid DNA law enforcement program across the state.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says YCSO has wanted this program for several years.

“Yuma actually contacted us a couple of years ago before covid and talked to us about the potential for expanding the rapid DNA program out here. So we knew they were very very interested so as soon as we actually had that funding in hand, basically the first phone call I made was to Yuma County Sheriff’s Office,” said Rex.

YCSO now has two investigators trained and certified to operate the equipment with more scheduled in the near future.

YCSO says this technology could immediately help link suspects with past crimes, collect and rapidly process crime scene samples for new investigative leads and significantly reduce the time to identify or eliminate a potential suspect.

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Samantha Byrd

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