Chief Lumpkin: Touch DNA testing will reduce violence

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Purchasing a $110,250 contract for Touch DNA testing is how Savannah-Chatham Metro Police want to put gang members and felons behind bars.

“For one bullet if they are bad enough actors, then we can get their fingerprint or DNA off one bullet then we’re going to prosecute them,” Police Chief Jack Lumpkin, with SCMPD, said.

Monday afternoon in the Savannah-Chatham Police Policy meeting the city and county discussed the possibilities of contracting a licensed credential lab for DNA testing.

It’s an effort Lumpkin has been to working on for months.

“What we are looking for is Touch DNA,” Lumpkin said. “There’s some transfer of DNA if you touch an object.”

The testing is as simple as wiping your skin cells from a surface and tracing the cells specifically back to you.

“We want to be able to run those tests on firearms that we recover and we think possession has been by a convicted felon,” Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin said the state of Georgia doesn’t run that level of a test and that it should.

“It’s going to put criminals in prison,” Lumpkin said.

The contracted cost would cover 65 tests to narrow down one person and 35 tests that would find multiple people.

All of this without needing bodily fluid, such as blood.

It will also be used in court case like last week’s where a jury found Kevin Palmer guilty of shooting and killing William Whitsett.

“They have a gun and the ballistics showed that gun was the gun that killed Will. What they don’t have is who fired that weapon and killed Will,” Mike Schiavone, the defense attorney, said.

Just a swab of the cells off the weapon and experts could match them to the suspect.

“We’re going after the people who are using firearms to commit crimes,” Lumpkin said. “We want to be able to hold them to justice for every element we can.”

Lumpkin has worked with the district attorney’s office and says this would help the city.

He added area stations like Pooler and Garden City would be able to use the lab for a fee.

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