NYPD DNA Collection

Jiawen+Qi+%E2%80%9921+offers+her+opinion+on+the+NYPD+collecting+DNA+samples+from+non-convicted+persons.%0A

Pinkey Lam

Jiawen Qi ’21 offers her opinion on the NYPD collecting DNA samples from non-convicted persons.

The New York State Police Department hasn’t just been collecting DNA samples from people convicted of crimes; they have samples in their database from anyone who has been arrested or even just brought in for questioning. Most of these samples are collected after the person has left police stations and are often from drinks or food that are offered to them during the time of questioning. These samples, a large amount of which are from minors, amount to over 82,000 profiles of non-convicted people. 

“It is totally unnecessary for the NYPD to be keeping records of our fingerprints. The fact that they are keeping these profiles is an invasion of privacy to us and to our parents or guardians,” said Jiawen Qi ’21.

The collection of DNA samples have been a controversial topic from the start, receiving backlash from both city council members and the police force alike. City council members such as Donovan Richards have often voiced their opinions on the matter and how it affects society as a whole. Civil liberty advocates have constantly criticized and spoken out against the creation of these profiles. Once these profiles have been made, it is hard to remove them from the database. Even though the official New York State police law states that DNA should only be collected from those who are convicted, many local police members do not follow these laws. Many argue that this infringes upon privacy rights of the innocent who were only brought into police stations based on suspicion. “There was no written record of consent for something that is practically useless to them. I am glad that the NYPD decided to start removing these non-convicted people off their database,” said Jiawen Qi ‘21.

The NYPD commissioner Dermot F. Shea recently announced the termination of DNA sample collection among the non-convicted. The NYPD plan to delete most of these 82,000 DNA profiles. Many of the department officers argue that these profiles are not of much use to them anyway. These new rules also restrict DNA collection from minors, as the NYPD has been criticized for not having received parental or guardian consent before collection. With the new regulations in place, only minors suspected of felonies, sex crimes, hate crimes, or gun crimes will have their DNA samples collected, but not for minor misdemeanors. The NYPD commissioner also wants to include consent forms that explain exactly what is being done with a person’s DNA. By purging their database, the NYPD hopes to build trust with New Yorkers by protecting their civil liberties while trying to maintain a structured system for crime fighting.

“It is totally unnecessary for the NYPD to be keeping records of our fingerprints. The fact that they are keeping these profiles is an invasion of privacy to us and to our parents or guardians,” said Jiawen Qi ’21.

 

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