Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Richland County Sheriff's Department has a new tool in its arsenal when it comes to DNA collection.
It's called the M-Vac System and is the first of it's kind in the state.
"This instrument, by creating a mini vacuum, allows it to kind of suck up any DNA that's in deeper layers," says DNA Technical leader Rachel Grant.
Grant says it can be difficult to gather samples from items that have a more porous surface.
"So specifically brick and clothing items also items that have very large surface materials that we need to cover big areas, such as sheets, car seats, that kind of material. It allows us to cover large areas and get things kind of buried deep within."
The M-Vac also uses a sterile solution to help collect any particles.
"We get a solution that we then filter on a filter and concentrate it down," says Grant. "That filter is then cut and run through our DNA process."
Grant says this new M-Vac can collect more material than the traditional method of DNA collection with swabs.
Lieutenant Curtis Wilson says the department is excited about being able to use the new technology to help solve cases.
"With this evolving world and technology that changes every single day this piece of equipment here is going to help us determine exactly who's responsible for committing crimes," says Wilson.
"We're right now just kind of head first in different cases and seeing what we can do with it," says Grant. "Based on our validation studies it looks promising so we are very excited to have it."
The lab also hopes to use the new M-Vac device to solve Cold Cases by going over previous evidence.
At this time Richland county has 62 unsolved homicides dating back to 1964.