(KUTV) — In many cases, police have to let suspects go while they wait for DNA to be tested. That's no longer the case in Utah because of a new tool law enforcement can use called a Rapid DNA machine.
With a Rapid DNA machine, results can be returned in as little as 90 minutes.
“It takes bad guys off the streets faster. I mean, legally you could detain someone long enough to get answers back,” said Nate Mutter, the assistant chief of investigations with the State Attorney General's Office.
Right now, there is no telling how long it will take DNA to be analyzed in the lab.
“I've heard anywhere from six months to three years as far as a wait time to get results back on DNA,” Mutter said.
Mutter is one of seven investigators trained to use the machine. The sample goes into a container, then inside the machine.
“This is probably one of the best technologies I've seen come up throughout my 16-year career,” Mutter said.
The AG’s office owns and operates the two machines that can be taken directly to crime scenes.
Any law enforcement agency in the state can have evidence tested — at no cost to their local taxpayers.
“Every law enforcement department we've talked to is extremely excited about the potential to analyze DNA in under two hours,” Mutter said.
The machine can also test DNA from a gun, something Mutter says the state crime lab can't do.
“There's a multitude of uses, really, we're only limited by the use of our imagination to use DNA to prove criminal cases," he said.
Salt Lake City District Attorney Sim Gill said he is encouraged the technology is in Utah.
“It will definitely change investigations and will certainly impact prosecutions," Gill said.
Mutter says just a handful of agencies across the country use Rapid DNA right now. Mutter also says the first and only case they’ve used it on so far has a good chance of getting a "favorable outcome" soon.
Attorney General Sean Reyes asked his office to test it, and has now given its use the green light.