County Sheriff’s Office, based in Phoenix, Ariz., has never been shy about
strict law enforcement. Led by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, often called “America’s
Toughest Sheriff,” the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office prides itself on
tackling crime efficiently and effectively.
end, Maricopa County utilizes procedures and tools that support efficient law
enforcement, and thus decided to trial a Cummins-Allison
to process evidence currency.
Like most law
enforcement agencies, Maricopa County must carefully document money that is
seized during an arrest—a painstaking process that takes time and diligence to
ensure an accurate count and a strong evidence chain.
In fact, many
agencies spend hours photocopying all confiscated currency so they have a
picture of the serial number of each and every note. Maricopa County
had kept all seized currency in an evidence warehouse until trial. But this
still consumed significant time and manpower.
Evidentiary Protocol Demanded Several People
evidentiary and security protocol required that seized cash be counted multiple
times, by multiple people,” said Lt. Brian Stutsman, Special Investigations
Division. “Each time the confiscated currency was accessed, multiple
administrative personnel and detectives had to again sign off on the currency.
When dealing with significant cash seizures, the amount of time involved was
Cummins JetScan iFX, Maricopa County Sheriff’s personnel can now process seized
currency within minutes. Mixed notes are stacked into the iFX hopper and
accurately counted at 1,200 notes per minute.
The Solution: JetScan iFX
“A few months
ago, we had a huge seizure of $919,000, which we were able to process quickly
and accurately using the JetScan iFX,” reported Lt. Stutsman. He goes on to
cite several other important benefits.
number of every single note is digitally imaged and recorded at the same time
the money is being counted,” he said. “Our County Attorney
now has an additional level and form of evidentiary value—and nobody had to
spend hours at a photocopier!”
Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department also opted for Cummins Image Management
System (IMS) software, these serial numbers are readily accessible for
retrieval from a database, which can be labeled by officer, case number, batch
number or any classification of their choice.
Flash money is
also run through the JetScan iFX and serial numbers are stored in the IMS
software. Seized currency can then be compared to the flash money for serial
Serial Number Tracking Provides Stronger Evidence
chuckled at one interesting case where serial number capture had a rather
unusual, but powerful benefit: “Thousands of dollars were found in a mattress
during a drug bust,” Lt. Stutsman recalled. “The perp claimed he had so much
cash because he had been saving steadily over the past 10 years. However, we
were able to prove that none of the bills had a serial number older than four
years. The defense case was crushed.”
Maricopa County also uses the serial number capture
feature in the field, using a small Cummins printer attached to the JetScan iFX
to generate a print-out detailing the count and serial number by denomination
and leaving it with the search record.
iFX unit is portable, only weighing about 20 pounds, which allows our officers
to bring it into the field and count the currency right at the scene,” stated
Lt. Stutsman. “Plus, if the seizure takes place during a banking day, we can
deposit the currency immediately and start earning interest. This also avoids
the time and manpower involved in taking the evidence to the warehouse.”
interest earnings, Maricopa
County had over $3
million sitting in their evidence warehouse for nearly four years awaiting the
trial. Once they had the JetScan iFX run the currency and image the serial
numbers, they were able to finally deposit the cash into the bank and begin
earning considerable interest income.
detection capabilities of the JetScan iFX have also proven advantageous.
Intercepted cash is generally good money, as drug dealers don’t want to take
chances with counterfeits. However, Det. Edd Cason, who worked closely with Lt.
Stutsman in evaluating the JetScan iFX, cited a sting, which resulted in a
Counterfeit Detection—an Added Bonus
The JetScan iFX
kept stopping on notes as “suspect.” Thinking that the machine may have been
misreading, since again counterfeits are rare in drug busts, the officers kept
re-processing the suspect notes.
examined the $100 notes closely,” Det. Cason recounted, “and saw Abraham
Lincoln’s image in the watermark. Of course, Lincoln is on the $5 note. We found $30,000
of counterfeit bills. I guess the JetScan iFX was doing its job!”
added a final observation: “The entire system—JetScan iFX and the IMS software—is
extremely user-friendly and simple to understand. I like the fact that I can go
several weeks without using it, but then can easily pick it back up.”
savings, labor savings, better accuracy, superior counterfeit detection, and
serial number documentation to evidence currency processing, the JetScan iFX
has become a valuable contributor to the renowned efficiency of the Maricopa
County Sheriff’s Office. To learn more, or to set up
a free demonstration, contact Cummins-Allison.
Tim Esterbrook is
the Director of National Accounts for Cummins Allison.