I. Purpose and Scope
The purpose of this interim policy is to promote the reasoned exercise of investigative, scientific, and prosecutorial discretion in cases that involve forensic genetic genealogical DNA analysis and searching (‘FGGS’). It provides guidance to Department agencies when formulating a thoughtful and collaborative approach to important interdisciplinary decisions in cases that utilize this investigative technique. Collaboration between investigators, laboratory personnel, and prosecutors is important because the decision to pursue FGGS may affect privacy interests, the consumption of forensic samples, and law enforcement’s ability to solve violent crime. The Department must use FGGS in a manner consistent with the requirements and protections of the Constitution and other legal authorities. Moreover, the Department must handle information and data derived from FGGS in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, policies, and procedures. When using new technologies like FGGS, the Department is committed to developing practices that protect reasonable interests in privacy, while allowing law enforcement to make effective use of FGGS to help identify violent criminals, exonerate innocent suspects, and ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice to all Americans. The Department will continue to assess its investigative tools and techniques to ensure that its policies and practices properly reflect its law enforcement mission and its commitment to respect individual privacy and civil liberties. This interim policy establishes general principles for the use of FGGS by Department components during criminal investigations and in other circumstances that involve Department resources, interests, and equities. The scope of this interim policy is limited to the requirements set forth herein. It does not control investigative, scientific, or prosecutorial activities or decisions not specifically addressed. The Department’s individual law enforcement components may issue additional guidance that is consistent with the provisions of this interim policy.