Untraceable: Why law enforcement knows the number of missing DNA profiles, but you don't

From Lancaster Eagle Gazette

The public may need to know, but they don’t have the right to know.

An investigation into collection lapses revealed Ohio’s DNA databank is missing thousands of profiles, potentially denying or delaying justice in unsolved crimes.

The data detailing the shortcomings in Ohio’s DNA collection for arrested and convicted felons can’t be released to the public, according to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s Office.

Despite the value of holding the biggest offenders of failed DNA collections accountable, the data isn’t being released.

Here’s why.

Understanding who has access and who doesn't

Information requested from the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation — which would outline the number of DNA profiles missing from the databank — would have required the compilation of data in a report that doesn’t already exist. Ohio’s Sunshine Law doesn’t require public offices to create new reports to satisfy a records request.

The data is housed in what’s called the Negative Offender DNA Flag Report, which is an application found in the Ohio Law Enforcement Gateway. BCI maintains the private police database and also Ohio’s Combined DNA Index System or CODIS. The DNA profiles in Ohio’s databank are also then uploaded to the national databank system.

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