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Maryland forensic sleuths to get stimulus dollars

Federal stimulus dollars will go to four crime labs where scientists are working to use DNA evidence to solve cases, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced Monday.

A total of $1.2 million in Department of Justice grants will be distributed between labs run by the Maryland State Police, Prince George's County Police, Montgomery County Police and Baltimore Police, O'Malley's office said. Scientists will use the funds to study genetic clues left at crime scenes.

States have been expanding their DNA databases as a key crime-fighting tool. In Maryland, a law that went into effect Jan. 1 allows police to take genetic samples from suspects when they are charged with certain violent crimes instead of after they are convicted, which had been Maryland's policy.

Since March 2007, DNA evidence has led to 192 arrests in Maryland, including those of 15 people charged in homicides, and 97 people arrested for sexual offenses, officials said.

So far this year the state has collected 10,877 new samples. Scientists found 37 database hits that officials said led to the arrests of ten violent criminals.

-- Maria Glod.

By Maria Glod  |  December 14, 2009; 1:01 PM ET
Categories:  Maria Glod , Maryland  
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