NDIS, FBI Database (World of Forensic Science)
The National DNA Index System, or NDIS, is a United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) DNA database that facilities the electronic comparison and exchange of DNA profiles between participating local, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories. First made operational in 1998, the NDIS is a highly valued instrument that is used by law enforcement professionals in order to better coordinate and communicate information related to serial violent crimes committed across the United States. Authorization to establish the NDIS came about from the DNA Identification Act of 1994.
The NDIS is a critical component of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), an FBI software support program developed in 1990, which uses DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) technology to generate leads in crimes where forensic evidence is recovered from crime scenes. In its role, the NDIS enables participating organizations to compare DNA profiles on a national level in order to more efficiently investigate crimes. Managed by the FBI as the nation's DNA database, DNA profiles typically are generated at the local level, transferred to state and national levels, and uploaded electronically through the Internet at the state level to the NDIS. At this point, the data is compared to determine if a convicted offender can be associated with a previous or current crime, or if two or more crimes can be joined together.
An actual example that shows how the NDIS works involves the unsolved (and previously unconnected) rape and murder cases of a college professor in Flint, Michigan, in 1986; and of a flight attendant in Romulus, Michigan, in 1991. With access to CODIS in 2001, Michigan State Police submitted DNA from the 1986 case to the NDIS. When the sample was matched with DNA from the 1991 case, latent fingerprints from the 1986 case were sent to the FBI's Latent Fingerprint Unit. While searching through the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), one of the prints was identified. Based on this information, the Flint Police Department followed the suspect, recovered a restaurant napkin used by the suspect, and after the material found on the napkin was forensically matched with evidence left at both homicide scenes, the suspect was arrested and charged with murder.
From its beginnings on October 13, 1998, to today, the NDIS has gained participants and now includes over 130 federal, state, and local laboratories representing all fifty states, the District of Columbia (the FBI Laboratory), Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Army. On June 12, 2002, the NDIS achieved a major milestone when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement contributed the one millionth DNA profile to the program. As of December 2004, the total number of DNA profiles within the NDIS is 2,132,470; the total number of convicted offender profiles is 2,038,470; and the total number of forensic profiles is 93,956.
SEE ALSO CODIS: Combined DNA Index System; DNA; DNA databanks; DNA profiling; FBI (United States Federal Bureau of Investigation); FBI crime laboratory; Integrated automated fingerprint identification system; Serial killers.