Police Tech & Gear
with Tim Dees
Show me the money: JetScan iFX i100 Currency Scanner
Currency scanner counts money, records serial numbers, and eliminates the need for photocopying
Most of us have had to handle money at work at some point in our careers. Cashiers have to count out their drawer, paperboys total up their collections for the newspaper. When cops have to count money, the task is often several orders of magnitude up from what other people are accustomed to. A controlled-narcotics transaction can involve cash going into six figures. I once arrested a fellow who had more than $40,000 in the pockets of his jeans (he had just hit big on a craps table).
Depending on the reason you came into possession of the cash, it might be necessary to record all of the serial numbers and denominations of the bills, determine if any are counterfeit, and there might even be some foreign lucre in the mix. A new gadget from Cummins, the JetScan iFX Series i100 Currency Scanner, makes these tasks easy and considerably more secure.
99.99 Percent Accurate
At first glance, the i100 looks like the currency counters we see in movies like Scarface, where the bad guys are making their bank deposits by hauling in duffle bags full of cash. The i100 does count bills placed in its hopper, but at the same time it records either the serial number and denomination of the bills, or captures complete scans of each bill. Serial number captures will run at a rate of 1,200 notes per minute — whole-bill images are recorded at 600 per minute. The bills need only be stacked into the hopper — no “facing” (orienting each bill so all front sides are upright and facing in the same direction) is required. Accuracy is rated at better than 99.99 percent, putting the maximum error at one bill in a thousand.
As the bills are counted, the device will track quantities at four levels: batches, sub-batches, day totals, and “strap limits” (the number of bills that are bound with a paper strap). At the same time, the bills are screened for counterfeit indicators — the presence or absence of magnetic ink and UV/IR fluorescence features. Current devices will handle U.S. currency, Canadian bills, and Euros. Other currencies are in the works and can be updated in the machine via a USB flash drive.
Saving Time & Money
Companion software that runs off a user-supplied PC interfaces to the i100 via an Ethernet cable. The software stores and indexes the serial numbers and bill images, as well as the bill and amount counts. Users can search the database for serial numbers of bills recovered at a later time and date, as well as compare the serial numbers of two scanned batches to identify commonalities. If the scan of a bill doesn’t catch the entire serial number, the software will stop the process and flag the number, showing the portion that was captured with “?” marks in place of the unknown digits. The user need enter only the missing data.
In the past, officers documenting money to be used in a buy or recovered in a crime had to photocopy all or a portion of every bill, laying out the bills so that the serial numbers were visible (and invariably covering some up), and then shrinking the size of the image because it’s unlawful to make a life-size copy of U.S. currency. In narcotics squads, this assignment usually falls to the newest or most junior member of the team because of the tedious nature of the process. This device will not only save time; it makes for a far more accurate count and recording process.
Pricing information was not available at the time of this writing.