According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there were nearly 30,000 domestic drug arrests made in 2014. As law enforcement agencies and joint task forces continue to combat illegal drug trafficking, they are faced with the challenge of quickly and accurately documenting, tracking, and managing the vast amounts of incoming and outgoing cash used in drug investigations. 

Cummins Allison, provider of coin, currency, and check handling solutions, advises law enforcement agencies to use currency processing technology in order to process and document seized money more efficiently, giving them more time to spend on the streets.

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drug trafficking organizations often requires agents to purchase drugs or pay informants with cash, which is typically withdrawn from the agency’s vault or safe room.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 by the investigating officers. The currency must be sorted, counted, scanned or photocopied, and the serial numbers recorded in text ‒ bill by bill ‒ before it's wrapped and returned to the safe or evidence room. This process is often time-consuming and labor-intensive, making it highly prone to human error. And the more time spent on procedural and administrative tasks, the less time spent combating crime.

Cash counting machines help ease the burden on law enforcement agencies by performing these tasks quickly and accurately without sacrificing manpower. Digital imaging technology simultaneously scans the front and back of each bill to store serial numbers, scan for counterfeits, and count mix bills. With the automated equipment, an officer can count and properly document thousands of dollars in minutes, allowing them to move on to the next case.

From there, serial numbers are readily accessible for retrieval from a database where it is labeled by officer, case number, batch number, and more. Many cash counters can also track serial numbers and identify buy money, allowing agencies to add it back to their budgets.

Many companies offer affordable currency solutions that accommodate tight budgets. Some agencies also use seized cash proceeds (RICO funds) or Byrne Grant Funds (awarded by the Department of Justice) to invest in these solutions. For more information about currency processing solutions for law enforcement agencies, visit Cummins Allison.