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The Town of Zionsville has been supportive of a bill requiring DNA to be collected from suspects arrested on felony charges. And yesterday, Gov. Holcomb officially signed that bill – Senate Bill 322 – into law.
Senate Bill 322 requires all individuals arrested for a felony to submit a DNA sample via cheek swab along with fingerprints, photographs and other data during the booking process.
Last September, a DNA sample collected in Ohio helped Zionsville Police Department – along with the assistance of other police departments – link a man to the fatal shooting of John Clements in Zionsville. Police linked Damoine Wilcoxson to the murder of Clements by a DNA sample collected in Ohio when he was arrested there for a different crime.
With assistance from the Town of Zionsville’s attorneys, the Town monitored and supported the legislation throughout the legislative process. Town attorneys and Mayor Tim Haak worked with key legislators including Rep. Donna Schaibley, a sponsor of the bill, to share support.
“The Town is supportive of this bill, which will ensure law enforcement have the tools they need,” said Mayor Haak. “This is a valuable and long overdue tool that will make communities in Indiana safer.”
Town attorneys also helped coordinate ZPD Chief Robert Knox’s participation and testimony. Chief Knox and Boone County Sheriff Mike Nielsen testified on behalf of the bill during appropriation committee hearings.
“In the horrific situation with Clements’ homicide, we had to rely on another state’s DNA laws that were in place. Now Indiana will be contributing to that repository,” said Knox. “So many more DNA samples will be submitted and available for comparison so this will be a huge asset to law enforcement in their efforts to solve crimes.”
Indiana is now the 31st state to allow DNA samples for be collected from suspects charged with felonies.