By CN Staff
MONITEAU COUNTY, Mo.—Gathering intelligence for investigations challenges law enforcement across the country, often due to budget constraints.
That’s the case with the Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office, where the obstacles to solving investigations regularly include restricted availability of resources.
“We have a limited budget and limited manpower,” said Sheriff Tony Wheatley.
The other obstacle his agency faced was time constraints when dealing with third-party vendors or state agencies. He explains that time was wasted waiting on valuable evidence that often became unusable because it was too old by the date it was received by his office.
“If we contact the Missouri State Highway Patrol lab for data, it can take up to two to three months,” Wheatley stated. “Old forensics can ruin a prosecution.”
With challenges like that in mind, Securus Technologies—dedicated to providing digital tools that improve the safety and security of facilities, staff, incarcerated residents and communities—offers Guarded Exchange, aimed at predicting and even stopping illegal activity before it occurs.
When the Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office started using Securus, Wheatley saw a drastic change.
“If we need that information now, we just give Securus a call, and get it in one or two days,” he remarked.
One of the services, Securus’ Guarded Exchange offers the sheriff’s office includes the monitoring of phone calls, 60 to 90 days prior to a trial, to alert facility staff of any new evidence to further the investigation.
“Securus’ Guarded Exchange has aided on several phone extractions where we needed that information, sooner rather than later,” stated Wheatley. “We can’t afford to wait around for valuable investigative evidence.”
He adds that his office also relies on Securus Technologies for cold cases. Those that have proven to have been most instrumental are cell phone extractions using Securus’ Guarded Exchange K9s.
Guarded Exchange monitors non-private calls for customers to reveal the whereabouts of suspected criminals before illegal acts are committed. This service gives agencies strong evidence needed for prosecutions. Monitoring excludes calls to numbers designated by Securus’ correctional partners as private, such as those of attorney phone numbers, because these calls are not recorded and cannot be monitored. Therefore, attorney-client privileged calls are not monitored.
The case of Jessi Jayne Bull is just one example of a crime that was prevented in its tracks. This drug crime, Wheatley says, has become commonplace in this area of the state. The press release distributed by the Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office on February 15, 2019, states that Bull had bond set at $50,000 for a possible attempt to deliver a controlled substance (meth) into a Missouri DOC facility.
Wheatley was tipped off by a call from a Missouri DOC investigator saying that Securus had been monitoring calls about a drug drop at Tipton Correctional Center.
“Guarded Exchange had latched on to a series of calls from Bull that she was going to be attempting to deliver on February 15, 2019,” Wheatley explained.
Thanks to the tip, DOC investigators were waiting for the suspect’s arrival on that date, inside the facility. Meanwhile, Wheatley and his detectives arrived at Tipton in unmarked vehicles and kept the suspect under surveillance in the parking lot and followed her inside the institution. Bull cooperated with officers who interrogated her and later confessed her guilt.
“She did admit that the drugs were administered inside her person,” Wheatley stated.
He adds that she was going to pass the contraband to her incarcerated male friend. Bull was taken to Moniteau County Sheriff’s Office where she was arrested.
She eventually pled guilty to delivery of a controlled substance and was placed on Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS) with five-years of probation.
“This case would’ve never been caught before our use of Securus’ Guarded Exchange,” stated Wheatley.
The sheriff explains that it is Securus’ specialized technology which makes a positive impact on investigations.
“Guarded Exchange saves us time and manpower on investigating. Securus saves us on K9 costs and staff for those investigations as well as cell phone extractions,” Wheatley concluded. “‘It saves us a lot of time, and time is money.”
Headquartered in Dallas, Securus Technologies is an Aventiv Technologies company, serving more than 3,450 public safety, law enforcement and corrections agencies and over 1,200,000 inmates across North America.