When the NYPD was looking for the person who killed Karina Vetrano in a Queens park in August of 2016, officers collected DNA samples from more than 360 men of color who had recently been arrested without the use of formal consent forms or a court order. The DNA database used by the NYPD and maintained by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner contains the profiles of more than 82,000 New Yorkers -- many of them were never convicted of a crime. The database has drawn criticism from lawmakers and criminal justice advocates, and on Thursday, the NYPD announced that they would make changes to how DNA evidence is collected and kept.

Previously, only a court order could remove someone's profile from the database, but the NYPD now says they will review the entire database for profiles older than four years, and review new profiles every two years. Those that do not involve a conviction of a felony or misdemeanor will be tossed out. The NYPD is also keeping, "in limited circumstances," profiles that were "the subject of an arrest or prosecution where no judicial conclusion was reached on the person’s innocence." The department will also start publicly posting the number of profiles in the database.

When not collecting DNA evidence surreptitiously from a soda can or another discarded object, officers will give adults a consent form. This kind of surreptitious collection will only be used under "strict guidelines," and police officers will be reminded that they are required to get parental consent before taking young people's DNA—a recent example of this can be found in the Tessa Majors murder case. Police asked the parents of 14-year-old Rashaun Weaver for their consent in collecting a DNA sample from him, and they complied. Weaver is one of three teenagers charged in Majors's death.

“These changes are common sense and incorporate feedback we have gathered without compromising the ability for officers to successfully identify criminals, build strong cases and bring justice for victims," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement.

The NYPD's changes come days before the City Council holds an oversight hearing on the NYPD's use of DNA evidence on Tuesday.

In a statement, Terri Rosenblatt, the supervising attorney for the DNA unit at The Legal Aid Society, excoriated the NYPD's changes as "weak and cynical."

"Under their plan, surreptitious DNA sampling and DNA dragnets from people who haven’t been convicted of any crime will still run rampant," Rosenblatt said. "Their vague suggestion that they will agree to expunge some samples provides little comfort to our clients—including kids as young as 12—who are among the tens of thousands of people in the OCME index now or may be in the future."