A northwestern Indiana sheriff's department is one of the first law enforcement agencies in the U.S. to use a new form of identification that supporters say rivals the accuracy of DNA.

Porter County Sheriff David Lain began distributing SmartWater CSI through a local senor advocacy group Tuesday.

SmartWater is a specially treated form of water that creates a chemical signature that supporters say is virtually as unique as fingerprints or DNA. It's used to link valuables with their owners. As a mist, it ties burglars to crime scenes.

But Indiana University law professor Fran Watson said Tuesday that no matter how useful SmartWater may be to police, its use as evidence still has to be proved in court.

Company chief Logan Pierson says he believes SmartWater will pass courtroom challenges.