JANUARY 10, 2013, MT. PROSPECT, IL — As municipal, county and state law enforcement agencies and joint task forces continue to combat illegal drug trafficking they are faced with the everyday challenge of accurately tracking and tracing the vast amount of incoming and outgoing cash used in drug transactions designed to identify and capture the perpetrators.
Cummins Allison, leading innovator and provider of coin, currency and check processing solutions, explains how law enforcement agencies can streamline the task of processing illegal drug buy and seized currency, and help law enforcement agencies keep more officers and agents out in the field.
The Challenge: Time-Consuming Manual Processes
Infiltration of drug trafficking organizations often requires agents to purchase drugs or pay informants with cash provided by the law enforcement agency. Similarly, when cash is confiscated in a drug arrest, it must be returned as evidence to the agency having jurisdiction. This is not, however, as simple as it sounds.
In most agencies, the task of counting and documenting buy and seized currency is performed manually, often by the investigating officers themselves, 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 staggeringly large, this is an immensely time-consuming and labor-intensive activity and one highly prone to human error.
Law enforcement agencies recognize how inefficient manual processes and documentation ‒ no matter how necessary ‒ have a negative impact in terms of manpower, asset allocation and overall productivity. With agency resources already being squeezed due to budget constraints, it’s clear that a more automated system is needed.
The Solution: Automated Cash Handling Machines
Practical, portable and affordable currency counting machines are now available now in today’s marketplace. The automated equipment used in banks, casino and retail stores to improve the accuracy and speed of currency counting, sorting and documentation, is finding growing acceptance in the law enforcement community and delivering benefits far beyond the technology investment.
One example is the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix, AZ. The agency replaced its time-consuming process of having currency counted multiple times by multiple individuals with a Cummins Allison JetScan iFX® currency scanner. The agency reports that the new solution saves time and labor, and has contributed additional value because the seized cash, once processed, can be deposited into a bank account to earn interest for the agency.
Another example is the Pennsylvania Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, a statewide agency tasked with shutting down illegal drug trafficking statewide. The Bureau reports that, after implementing nine JetScan iFX currency scanners, human error has been eliminated, accuracy has improved significantly and a job that previously took hours to perform can now be done in mere minutes. In addition, the machines are connected to the Bureau’s Case Expense Tracking System, a web-based database tool that allows agents statewide to quickly compare buy money with seized money.
Affordable Options for Cash-Strapped Agencies
The Cummins Allison JetScan iFX models cited in these examples are compact, easy-to-use and affordable, costing less than many two-way radios. To finance their purchase, some agencies have used seized cash proceeds (R.I.C.O. Funds), while others may have applied for Byrne Grant funds, which are awarded by the Department of Justice to support state and local government crime prevention programs.
For more information about Cummins Allison’s currency scanners for the law enforcement community, visit cumminsallison.com/ifx