SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, backed a new law streamlining the search for missing persons and ensuring law enforcement professionals have access to every piece of information they need to best do their jobs.
“Modern DNA testing technology is an incredibly important tool when law enforcement professionals are searching for people who have gone missing,” Halpin said. “We need to make sure that our police officers, state troopers and everyone else involved in these searches can access evidence gained through DNA investigations. It’s critical that they be able to perform at the highest level when innocent people are in harm’s way.”
Halpin passed House Bill 2708, which requires law enforcement agencies to share information regarding DNA testing in missing persons cases in the NamUS national database. This federally-funded database is free for law enforcement, and acts as a national clearinghouse for missing persons and unidentified bodies, so that any law enforcement, or family members, can provide information and search for information in the same place. The bill received bipartisan support and was signed into law last week.
“Law enforcement faces an enormous challenge when trying to find people who have been missing for more than a few days; they deserve every advantage we can give them,” Halpin said. “This legislation will help ensure the brave men and women working to keep us safe have the modern tools they need, and no one gets shortchanged because people don’t share information.”