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AG Van Hollen wants changes made to DNA collection requirements

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's attorney general says he wants lawmakers to fix the problems they caused, when they watered down his plan to make those arrested for felonies give their DNA to police.  

Lawmakers concerned about invasions of privacy required that local agencies hold onto most samples -- and not send them to the Justice Department's database of criminals until a defendant makes a court appearance, or a judge issues a probable cause that a felony was committed.

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says the requirement could cause bureaucratic headaches for local police and sheriff's departments.  

Taylor County Sheriff Bruce Daniels, president of the state sheriff's association, said rural agencies could be squeezed by the requirement -- and there should be only one repository for the thousands of new DNA samples to be collected starting in the spring of 2015.  

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said the law actually hurts those concerned about civil liberties -- because it would be harder for those found innocent of crimes to have their DNA purged from the government's files.  

Van Hollen said he and Governor Scott Walker carefully crafted the DNA requirement as part of the new state budget -- and lawmakers had no business wrecking it.

For years, the state has collected DNA only from those convicted of felonies and sex crimes. A spokesman for Senate GOP leader Scott Fitzgerald said it's unlikely his chamber would revisit the matter. He said lawmakers tried to balance the need to catch criminal suspects with people's right to privacy.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)