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Fishers police add DNA testing device

FISHERS, Ind. — Fishers police has added a device to help solve crimes.

The department can now test for DNA in just 90 minutes.

The new equipment, which is manufactured by Thermo Fisher Scientific, is helping the Fishers Police Department generate leads and identify suspects faster.

Chief Ed Gebhart of the department said, “The sooner you can identify your suspect and move your case forward helps to move resources in that general area. It helps the community in general in totality of finding out exactly what happened at each of these scenes.”

Detective Sgt. Jim Hawkins of Fishers said, “The criminal forensics investigators will come in, take their crime scene samples or suspect samples. They’ll put it into a cartridge. It’ll go into the instrument itself here and then the software will tell us if we have a DNA profile and, if so, does it match to an existing case.”

The chief said, “We felt like this was the next progressive step toward engaging and aggressively pursuing crime forensically.”

Fishers police say the equipment is just one step in the crime-solving process. The department will continue to work with the Indiana State Police.

Hawkins said, “What the presumptive positive test will allow us to do is to make sure the night or day of the offense that we can confirm that we do have the correct suspect and we do have a match to the crime scene DNA, but we also follow that up with conventional DNA for the court process.”

The DNA testing device can also help bring closure to families impacted by violence.

The detective sergeant said, “For those cases where it could have been critical, we’re working with our agency and our partner agencies to be able to go back and start looking at some of that old crime scene evidence because if the evidence is preserved properly there may be a chance we can still do something.”

The chief said, “This is a trend that will take hold. I think you’ll see more of them start to show up in the state of Indiana. I’m anxious about that. I’m excited to be a part of that because I think ultimately it will lead to a lot of safer communities moving forward.”

According to Gebhart, the device will also benefit other police departments.

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