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How to manage cash seizures faster

Rather than manually copying and counting each bill, police can use a tool specifically designed for law enforcement use

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Sponsored by Cummins Allison

By Detective Joshua Lee, MLS, CFE, CCCI, CTFI, CCIE, for PoliceOne BrandFocus

U.S. drug overdose deaths continue to rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2017, researchers directly linked more than 72,000 deaths to drug overdoses. Over 30,000 of those were directly related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids). Due to the globalization and availability of these drugs, law enforcement across the nation are working together to fight this epidemic.

The JetScan iFX desktop series money counters from Cummins Allison process cash at 1,200 bills per minute, capturing every bill image and serial number and analyzing each bill for counterfeit detection. (image/Cummins Allison)
The JetScan iFX desktop series money counters from Cummins Allison process cash at 1,200 bills per minute, capturing every bill image and serial number and analyzing each bill for counterfeit detection. (image/Cummins Allison)

A major issue law enforcement agencies face while working with other organizations is prompt information sharing and accurate information management. Providing up-to-date, real-time information is crucial to these types of cases, but many agencies continue to use antiquated technology that slows down this process.

Police agencies require detectives to scan and copy – bill by bill – any money used in drug sales cases. The copying of bills is designed to mitigate claims associated with the chain of custody and to help detectives trace illicit money transactions.

In larger drug cases, the detectives scanning the bills will likely need to send the photocopied images to other agencies via fax or snail mail. This is not only inefficient but inaccurate and difficult to use in prosecution.

To assist the entire money handling process, the engineers at Cummins Allison,which provides cash processing solutions, designed the JetScan iFX i100 and i200 series money counters with law enforcement in mind. The JetScan iFX i100 scanner processes bills at 1,200 bills per minute, capturing every bill image and serial number in a single pass, eliminating the need to copy each bill manually.

The serial numbers and images are held in the image management software and can be turned into easy-to-read PDF reports. Users then can email the PDFs to other agencies or place the copies directly into evidence.

Designed to save investigators time

The JetScan iFX series is specifically tailored for money management, with four key features to help investigators process cash seizures quickly and accurately:

  • Serial Number and Bill Capture: Capture serial number image snippets (just the serial number) or full-size images of every bill at up to 1,200 bills per minute.
  • Mixed Bill Documenting: With this tool, investigators don’t need to spend time separating bills by denomination. At the end of each count, the JetScan iFX series money counter will provide an itemized breakdown of each denomination for recording purposes.

    If the user wants to physically separate the bills, he or she can the sorting feature, which is significantly faster than manual sorting and comes in handing when separating bills that are ready for deposit. The JetScan iFX i100 and i200 can also count $2 bills, which are often found in drug sales cases.
  • Four Levels of Memory: Users can compare internal batches of scanned money. Comparing batches is particularly important in undercover operations where detectives use department designated funds to purchase drugs. The detective can quickly scan the serial numbers of seized bills at a search and compare to serial numbers previously scanned by detectives to find any comingled bills.
  • Counterfeit Detection: The JetScan iFX series provides advanced counterfeit detection using patented sensors and analytic software to analyze each bill. This helps officers catch high-quality counterfeit bills, including the new $100 bill.
  • Easy to Use: An intuitive color touch-screen display with large buttons makes the JetScan iFX series easy to navigate with little to no training.

Law enforcement agencies can apply for a Byrne JAG Grant to procure a JetScan iFX system with little to no impact on their budget. In addition to cash seizures, the money counters can be used for fines and tickets and by tax collection offices of all levels of government. In fact, half of the most populated cities and counties in the U.S. use Cummins Allison machines for various purposes.

How one PD is using the JetScan iFX i100

The Mesa Police Department in Arizona has been using the JetScan iFX i100 exclusively since 2013. The department opted for the mobile option, which consists of the JetScan iFX i100 money counter, basic laptop, printer and power cables, all packed in a hard travel case for easy transport. The money counter has made such a difference in Mesa that the department changed internal policy to mandate its use in all large cash seizures.

Detectives say the JetScan iFX i100 processes cash in minutes on scene – including counting, bagging and sealing – and that they have saved countless hours by using it over the past five years. They have also noted that internal affairs investigations due to missed money counts are down.

“If the officer uses the machine, we can rest assured the count is accurate,” said Detective Tony Rabiola. “Everyone is happy when we use it, and it significantly reduces accidental miscounts.”

Accounting for money seized in drug busts is a vital part of the process for law enforcement, but documentation of these seizures can be a tedious and time-consuming process. Furthermore, it’s important to share the data, such as serial number or bill images, with other police agencies for greater investigative reach. The Cummins Allison JetScan IFX i100 and i200 series for law enforcement are key tools available to help investigators accomplish these critical tasks efficiently and effectively.

About the Author

Joshua Lee is a police detective assigned to the organized crime section of his department. He specializes in asset forfeiture investigations and convoluted financial and crypto-crimes. Joshua earned a bachelors in justice studies and a masters in legal studies, and he is pursuing a masters in English. Joshua is an adjunct law and criminal justice professor at a large university and smaller regional college. He is a 21st-century police instructor and a financial crimes consultant for banks and financial institutions throughout the state of Arizona.

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