DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AWARDS $1.5 MILLION TO DENVER FOR COLD CASE PROGRAM
WASHINGTON - The Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has awarded $1.5 million to Denver to continue its Integrated Cold Case program, an interdisciplinary effort that uses DNA technology to solve criminal cases.
In 2005, the Denver Police Department Crime Laboratory and Denver District Attorney's Office were selected by the Department of Justice as one of five sites to study the impact of DNA technology and the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) database on high volume crimes such as burglary. Since then, the city has analyzed 500 burglaries or other high-volume property crimes using DNA and studied the impact that DNA science had on the filing of these cases.
"The Denver effort has been one of the most successful DNA programs in the country," said Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Justice Programs. "In addition to using DNA technology to solve these cold cases, the city also has been a model for working with crime victims associated with these cases."
The National Institute of Justice (NIJ), OJP's research, development, and evaluation component, oversees the Justice Department's cold case effort which is part of President Bush's DNA Initiative. Since the DNA Initiative was launched in 2003, OJP has awarded more than $300 million to state and local government agencies across the country. The goal of the five-year, $1 billion dollar initiative is to ensure that DNA technology is used to its fullest potential to solve crimes, protect the innocent, and identify missing persons.
In a related effort, the Justice Department announced on July 2, 2007, that NIJ is developing the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database. NamUs will assist investigators in solving missing persons cases and help medical examiners and coroners identify human remains using DNA and other information. Ultimately, the NamUs database, which is viewable at http://www.namus.gov, will enable medical examiners, coroners, law enforcement officials, forensic professionals, and the public to use the database to search and match missing persons records and information about unidentified human remains.
The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has five component bureaus: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and the Office for Victims of Crime. Additionally, OJP has two program offices: the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy, and the Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking Office (SMART). More information can be found at http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov.