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Documenting & Tracking Seized Money More Efficiently with Advanced Currency Processing Technology

Cummins Allison, the leading innovator and provider of coin, currency and check handling solutions, explains how advanced currency processing technology can help law enforcement agencies process and document buy and seized money – improving efficiencies and letting law enforcement personnel spend more time on the streets.

Tracking Seized Money Comes at a Cost

Infiltration of drug trafficking organizations often requires agents to purchase drugs or pay informants with cash, which is typically withdrawn from the agency's vault or safe room. Similarly, when cash is confiscated in a drug arrest, it must be processed then placed as evidence by the agency having jurisdiction.

In most agencies, the task of counting and documenting this currency is performed manually, often by the investigating officers, since they are responsible for maintaining a secure chain of custody. The currency must be sorted, counted, scanned or photocopied, and the serial numbers recorded in text ‒ bill by bill ‒ then wrapped and returned to the safe or evidence room. With amounts often incredibly large, this is a time-consuming and labor-intensive activity and one highly prone to human error.

Law enforcement agencies recognize what this inefficiency means in terms of personnel, asset allocation and overall productivity. More time required by procedural and administrative tasks – no matter how necessary – equals fewer resources available to combat crime. With agency resources already squeezed due to budget constraints, it's clear that a more automated system is needed.

Increase Efficiency with Currency Processing Technology

To address these issues, many law enforcement agencies are implementing automated cash counting machines to improve speed and accuracy when counting and documenting seized currency. Today's currency scanners are dependable and extremely accurate. Digital imaging technology simultaneously scans the front and back of each bill, capturing and storing serial numbers, scanning for counterfeits and counting mixed bills, all at a speed of 1,200 bills per minute. This automated equipment makes it possible for a single officer to accurately count and properly document thousands of dollars in minutes – saving officers hours of time and getting them on the next case.

By combining the cash counter with image management software, serial numbers are readily accessible for retrieval from a database, which can be labeled by officer, case number, batch number and more. Many solutions can compare serial number lists to confirm if seized money contains documented buy money, and some also offer enhanced functionality that allows agencies to quickly and easily identify and pull out buy money from a seizure and get it back into their budgets immediately.

Affordable Options for Cash Strapped Agencies

While budgets have been tight for law enforcement agencies in recent years, there are affordable solutions available from industry-leading manufacturers. To finance their purchases, some agencies use seized cash proceeds (i.e., RICO funds), while others apply for Byrne Grant funds, which are awarded by the Department of Justice to support state and local government crime prevention programs.

To learn more about how currency processing solutions benefit law enforcement agencies, please visit



1Statistics and Facts; United States Drug Enforcement Administration, 2014;


About Cummins Allison

Cummins Allison is the leading innovator and provider of check, currency and coin handling solutions, as well as full-function ATMs. Our world-class sales and service network includes hundreds of local representatives in more than 50 offices in North America, 6 wholly-owned subsidiaries and is represented in more than 70 countries around the world. For more information about our award-winning solutions, visit