August 11, 2011 10:20:00 AM
The Columbus Police Department is the first department in Mississippi to implement new technology that will revolutionize forensics, according to Columbus crime lab technicians.
Instead of testing numerous samples of DNA, the department is using antibody profiling to test blood, sweat and even tears to narrow down the number of samples that need to be tested.
With the department spending as much as $1,000 per sample, with several samples per case, the new technology -- which cost the city $15,000 -- could save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.
CPD Director of Forensic Chemistry Bill Smith said the department is already working with other agencies in the region to develop an antibody profiling database.
"It''ll make life a lot easier, a lot cheaper, a lot faster," Smith said.
Although the science has been around for years, forensic scientists are just starting to apply the technology to their field.
The new technology has yet to receive its day in court, but that day is coming soon, said CPD Forensics Director Austin Shepherd. When it does, antibodies may be used like DNA, as evidence in a trial.
Another benefit of the antibody profiling is that it, unlike DNA testing, takes mere hours, Shepherd said. A sample can take weeks of even months to be tested.
The test is also easier to administer -- so easy, training only takes two days, Smith said.
Smith will be the first person trained here. But considering the crime lab services about 20 other agencies in this region, more help could be needed soon, he said.
Interim Police Chief Selvain McQueen commended the crime lab Wednesday for its forward thinking.
"We''re not sitting idly by," McQueen said.
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