The world of police technology has completely changed the way officers and detectives see cold cases. Newer police technology has helped many law enforcement agencies reopen cases that simply could not be solved without the aid of additional tools.
In regards to unsolved murders, victims' families and local law enforcement officers want answers and justice for the crime, and Paul Echols of the Carbondale Police Department in Carbondale, Ill., is looking to use new technology to reopen cases that have gone cold, The Southern Illinoisan reported.
"One of the biggest things that bothers investigators is that the people that committed the murders of Ryan Livingston or Connie Cole-Holmes are that those people are still out there," Echols added about cases in 1981 and 1982 that went unsolved, the source reported. "The police usually have an idea of who is involved and keep their eye on those people, but one of the things people do not realize is you must have probable cause to make an arrest."
Echols explained that many cases have been left untouched for 25 years because cases didn't have enough information or data tracking sources to help officers connect the dots or establish motive or probable cause. Many cases were left unresolved from lack of evidence tying suspects to the crime scene.
"The state's attorney is not going to take a case to court knowing they cannot show proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Echols added, according to The Southern Illinoisan. "There is no reason to take it to a courtroom. It is just not going to happen."
Access to better forensics science
Police departments currently have access to new DNA testing technology that helps officers bring undisputable evidence to cold cases, The Southern Illinoisan reported. New technology is helping law enforcement officials look at the case with an entirely different perspective.
"Now, with the new technology that exists, we can reach back and take a stab to see what evidence is still there," Echols told The Southern Illinoisan.
The Illinois State Police (ISP) has been able to upgrade their forensics department to better test drug chemistry, toxicology, microscopy, forensic DNA, latent prints, firearms, footwear and track lines and other questioned documents, the ISP official site reported.
Police officers need up-to-date access to information on current and old cases. New crime control software is letting officers in their police cruisers access information about suspects from police bulletin boards that used to require a trip back to the station.