Law enforcement gathers for conference

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Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley Thursday urged local governments to spend more money on collecting DNA evidence.

During a conference at Cal State LA, Cooley said police departments need to hire more people who can collect and process DNA evidence from crime scenes.

“Lot of room to improve the collection of DNA at crime scenes. There has to be an investment," he said.

That’s a tough sell as local governments face budget deficits. But Det. Rick Jackson of the LAPD’s cold case unit said agencies like his will increasingly rely on DNA evidence.

“It’s going to get better. When DNA first started coming into the picture, they said you need a drop the size of about a quarter of blood to get a DNA profile. And now you’re getting full profiles on material you can’t even see with your eye," Jackson said.

Civil libertarians continue to raise concerns about the DNA samples from the people officers arrest before their conviction on felony charges. That collection is allowed under California’s Proposition 69.