DNA Unit


DNA Unit


Forensic DNA analysis is used by law enforcement as a tool to help in the fight against crime, but it also serves to prevent miscarriages of justice, and through its use in successful prosecutions could be a deterrent to at risk populations of would be criminals. 

Over the years DNA profiling has moved from a new emerging technology to a reliable and increasingly sensitive method of identifying suspects involved in criminal activities.  With today’s technology Forensic DNA laboratories are able to use small amounts of DNA left behind at a crime scene to determine the DNA profile of potential suspects thereby providing leads to law enforcement that they might not otherwise have pursued.

Prior to the opening of the DNA lab at St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office (STPCO) the DNA cases from the parish were sent to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab in Baton Rouge where there was an extensive backlog of cases waiting for analysis.  Wait times for analysis was sometimes longer that two years.  With the opening of our DNA Lab, cases from St. Tammany Parish no longer sit in that long line of backlogged cases.  Through streamlining and implementation of new technologies, the DNA Lab here in St. Tammany has reduced the number of cases waiting to be worked. 


In crime laboratories where backlogs exist, property crimes receive a lower priority to violent crimes such as homicides, sexual assault and armed robberies and either worked sporadically or not at all.  At our DNA lab, property crimes such as burglaries are assigned with the other violent crimes so that they can be processed in a reasonable time frame.  Cases where the crime is a threat to the community are processed expeditiously so that all available information can be provided to aid the law enforcement agency in their investigation.  Our DNA analysts also provide courtroom testimony, to the 22nd Judicial District Court, explaining to juries what information they were able to obtain from evidence left at the scene of a crime so that jury members can reach a proper verdict.  


With the changing technologies in DNA analysis comes not only more sensitive results with faster turnaround times but unfortunately higher costs.  The laboratory is cognizant of this dilemma and strives to be as cost effective as possible, working within our budget to operate an efficient laboratory.  In fact the millage has been rolled back several years because of the cost saving measures implemented at the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office.


Over the last 12 years, our DNA lab has produced numerous success stories of both convictions and exonerations.  It has aided the community by providing valuable investigative information to law enforcement for the apprehension of criminals.  With the DNA profiling results, the 22nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office has also been able to obtain guilty pleas which results in lower costs to the court system and the citizens of St. Tammany.  We hope to continue serving the citizens of the parish and parish law enforcement agencies for many years to come”.