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Best Practices for Handling “Cold Hits”

Responding to Cold Hits

Streamlining Notification of Hits

Law enforcement agencies should designate a single point of contact to receive cold hits and must communicate this information (and any subsequent changes) to the appropriate crime laboratory. When a cold hit is identified at the laboratory, notification, often in the form of a “hit letter”, is made to the local law enforcement investigating agency that submitted the sample. Because of the very nature of cold hits, it may be years between submission of a DNA sample and a corresponding hit in CODIS. Because of this time delay, it is recommended that law enforcement agencies identify a single point of contact to receive “hit letters” from the laboratory.

In cases where the prosecutor has been involved in the initial investigation, it is recommended that they also be notified of a hit to the case.

officer of the court holding a laboratory report.

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