SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham Metro Police leaders met with city officials Monday to discuss policy changes for the new year.
One of the big topics is the department's need for DNA lab testing for solving crimes. SCMPD Chief Jack Lumpkin says this DNA test is what they need to put convicted criminals who possess firearms behind bars.
The department is looking to use a private DNA lab testing service on recovered firearms to see if they were possessed by a convicted felon. Georgia will run these "touch" tests in cases of serious crimes, but Metro says this is the key to being able to make a conviction in many cases they handle where specific weapons are recovered.
Right now, they have a contract on the table for $110,000 that will provide DNA testing for about 100 cases, with both single and multiple suspects.
He says this is going to make all the difference in the number of convictions they make.
"There's a lot of possession of firearms by convicted felons that go unpunished because we can't prove that they have possessed the firearm. If we chase the guy and he throws the gun and we didn't see him throw the gun down, then we may not be able to say that weapon was possessed by that individual," said Chief Lumpkin.
Going forward, the department will be working with the Chatham County District Attorney's Office to see if their current DNA costs can go towards this contract with Metro.
They are also planning to make these services available to other local police departments, who will pay them as needed.