NYS Sheriffs' Association: Fight Crime With DNA Spray | WAMC

NYS Sheriffs' Association: Fight Crime With DNA Spray

Jan 17, 2020

The New York State Sheriffs’ Association is rolling out a new "Crime Suppression Initiative."

CSI uses synthetic forensic technology capable of tagging criminals with an invisible forensic mist so police can identify them — even months after a crime was committed. It comes in many forms including water-soluble spray, grease and gel. CSI Select executive Vice President Joe Maltese says CSI is synthesized DNA, composed of shorter chains than human DNA.    "Every unit we create in our laboratory has a unique synthetic forensic marker code, aka sequence. That sequence will never ever be replicated again in the history of the world. So it's providing, as we said, irrefutable evidence that a person or item was at a specific location at a specific date and time."

CSI spray is invisible to the naked eye. The solution remains on criminal's skin and clothing for up to several months, can be activated in many different ways, and can augment existing security measures. Maltese says every police agency that has worked with CSI has seen a reduction in crime ranging from 40 to 100 percent.  

First step of the program:  installation of a forensic Criminal Tagging System at a jewelry store in downtown Albany. Richard Ruzzo is with Shepherd Communication And Security in Albany.   "We can do that install of this cutting edge technology at any retailer or jewelry or financial institution across the region. Anyone who has an existing alarm system or needs an alarm system we can integrate this cutting edge technology into capabilities of the technology are infinite."

Maltese says synthetic forensic marking technology deters and reduces criminal activity — and — if a crime is committed, the technology provides law enforcement with a powerful investigative tool.

But is it legal?  Maltese says "As long as a defense attorney is notified in writing, to know that the evidence is being analyzed,  that is not an issue and launches I believe 60 days prior to a trial, so we definitely did our homework before we came here, especially with the changes in the in the bail reform law."

Members of the Albany Police Department are being trained to work with CSI. Chief Eric Hawkins:  "I anticipate there will be some challenges, because any time you have new technology being used as means to prosecute people for some of these crimes there will be challenges."

Cost is relative to how many areas require protection and how deep that protection goes. Maltese says in many cases it could be less than a hundred dollars a month. The marking solution has a one-year shelf life.