DNA analysis system requested

LIHUE — The Kauai Police Department may be getting new a DNA analysis system.

Acting Police Chief Michael Contrades last month sent a letter requesting the County Council approve the purchase of a Rapid DNA analysis system at a cost of $110,000, to be paid for using money left over in the department’s salary budget.

The Rapid DNA system allows police to generate a DNA profile from a person’s cheek swab in under two hours using a fully-automated process and then compare that profile with the millions of others in the FBI database.

The KPD first bought a DNA screening system in late-2015, which, according to Contrades, expanded the department’s ability to collect and analyze DNA evidence by orders of magnitude.

“With the ParaDNA system, our unit has expanded the use of DNA evidence from only around ten cases per year, to being utilized on over four hundred samples in the last two and a half years,” Contrades wrote in his request to the council.

Contrades said the DNA technology purchased three years ago has proven to be worth the $50,000 it cost to buy the system, having saved the department well over a hundred thousand dollars in laboratory fees alone.

But the manufacturer of the 2015 DNA screening platform is expected to discontinue its support of the product by the Spring of 2020, due to what Contrades described as “Brexit-related political changes in Europe,” leaving the department with about a year to find a replacement.

Contrades said the department considered buying a Rapid DNA system back in 2015, but decided the half-million-dollar price tag was too much to spend, considering the availability of cheaper alternatives.

Today that price has dropped to around $100,000, and Contrades believes it is worth the expense. He said the department can expect to continue saving money on a regular basis by maintaining the ability to process DNA samples and avoiding costs associated with sending DNA samples to outside labs for analysis.

And he pointed to other potential benefits of Rapid DNA analysis.

“By extensively utilizing DNA analysis in our cases, we are minimizing the chances of wrongfully convicting an innocent person,” Contrades wrote. “With peoples’ freedom on the line we have an enormous moral duty to get these cases right.”

  1. Joe Public December 19, 2018 7:59 am Reply

    So because they didn’t want to purchase USA, with that business not providing support anymore and want to expend $110,000 tax payers dollars from un-expended salaries? How about the practice of spending tax payers money at the end of the year that is not used, be returned to the general fund. Also, instead of rushing into another purchase, do more research.

    Does KPD have access to the FBI Database? Didnt it all have to go through HPD as the accredited lab?

    More answers need to be given before KPD burns more tax payers money. Since they can never fill their positions, take the funding away and use it somewhere else so they dont come back at the end of the year trying to burn the left over funds.

  2. Charlie Chimknee December 19, 2018 8:52 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    …and the Police, in order to pay back the cost of the DNA Machine back to the County Taxpayers, they could multi-task the DNA Machine on a daily basis using it to DNA the local population on Kaua’i so we can see what neighbors we are related to, you know: step brother, Tita, Cuz2, Aunty, who you sat next to 2nd grade, and which starter island you’re from like the Philippines or Japan…or the real big giant island on the far right on the map…not the hop-skip one, the one takes a voyage for.

    Plus be sure it’s the DNA TESTER that says what % you are, cuz for sure some of us are related to the earlier hominids and more down too.

    Though it may turn out there’s not enough free time, due to demand, to test those wascally criminals hiding out in the Alapai Swamp, unless ya drain it…!



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