Verus Featured in Sheriff & Deputy Magazine

Los Angeles, July 27, 2022—LeoTech’s Verus is featured in the July/August 2022 edition of Sheriff & Deputy, the bimonthly magazine of the National Sheriffs’ Association. James Sexton, LeoTech’s chief operating officer, and Verus clients spoke to Ian Murphy, senior editor, for his article, “Call Collect.”

“Speed is our game,” Mr. Sexton told Mr. Murphy.

Verus monitors more than 100,000 inmate calls originating in California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Texas, New York, and Louisiana. This adds up to more than 65 million calls per year and more than 340 years of continuous conversation.

Verus has supported multiple real-world investigations. “It’s really a force multiplier when it comes to monitoring phone conversations,” said Kevin Catalina, Suffolk County (New York) undersheriff.

Verus also plays a role in detainee safety. It sends keyword alerts for terms related to suicidal ideation, assaults, COVID-19, and other health and safety concerns, helping law enforcement to intervene before a crisis occurs.

“Working with classification officers, we are able to provide mental health needs to inmates who may not normally communicate medical needs to staff or our medical provider,” said Eric Palmberg, El Dorado County (California) Sheriff’s Office public information officer. “We are looking at mental health issues, inmates making threats of suicide, threats against staff or other inmates, and overall security of the facilities.”

Powered by artificial intelligence, Verus operates in a continuous surveillance environment and renders all authorized inmate communications searchable except for those to lawyers, doctors, and spiritual advisors. Inmate discussions of illicit activity usually include context. Occasionally, threats are associated with slang or code words, such as “mosquito” for drones.

“Inmates do not have a sophisticated cipher that sounds like an NFL playbook,” Mr. Sexton noted. “It’s impossible to have that kind of coordination due to the environment. They also just overtly say things; 95% of conversations are very clear—no innuendo and in context.”

Despite notification of call monitoring when a call is placed, inmates often do not believe that jails effectively monitor their calls.

LeoTech provides Verus training and technical support. “It’s very user-friendly,” said Undersheriff Catalina. “One of the best parts of the service is that initially, they send a tech to your facility to not only show you how to use it, but actually work in the jail with the individuals who are using it,” he added. “They work side by side with you, and that makes it much easier to learn and understand.”

LeoTech delivers state-of-the-art hardware, software, and subject matter expertise to law enforcement organizations (LEOs) at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as to correctional facilities, the intelligence community, and the private sector. Many employees are current and former law enforcement officers.

Contact LeoTech at
[email protected] | 310.526.3890

Sheriff’s Office Uses Intel to Fight MS-13

Suffolk County, NY,  (March 30, 2022)—One Long Island county is making real progress in the fight against MS-13. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), an early adopter of LeoTech’s Verus,™ recently leveraged shared intelligence and technology to arrest suspect Leniz Escobar.

Escobar allegedly lured four teenagers to their death at the hands of MS-13 members. She is currently standing trial.

“We are constantly monitoring data, interviewing inmates, and sharing that data with our law enforcement partners,” Suffolk County Sheriff Errol Toulon Jr. said in an interview with The New York Post. “Information sharing is what’s really helping us to drive down MS-13.”

Escobar’s boyfriend is an MS-13 gang member currently imprisoned in a Suffolk County jail. “One of the ways this case was broken was the monitoring of Escobar’s phone calls with her boyfriend, who was on the inside,” Sheriff Toulon said.

The SCSO uses Verus software to gather intelligence, monitor and transcribe authorized inmate communications. Verus’ Continuous Monitoring sets alerts for keywords and other data, while a search function enables investigators to search transcripts that are supported by Spanish-English translation.

“Our technology gives investigators intel that can be shared across jurisdictions with federal, state, and local partners and prosecutors,” stated Scott Kernan, LeoTech CEO. “We know gang confederates discuss, plan, and direct crimes from behind bars. The use of intelligence from inmate phones can be a uniquely effective tool for investigators.”

Crime rates in Suffolk County have decreased over the past ten years but being part of the New York metropolitan area puts the county at a higher risk of gang-related activity. Gang-related arrests rose from 856 in 2017 to more than 1,300 in 2020, per SCSO-provided data.

Contact LeoTech at
[email protected] | 310.526.3890

Georgia Department of Corrections Chooses LeoTech to Combat Criminal Activity

LOS ANGELES, CA, April 7, 2021—The State of Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) has selected LeoTech as its sole source for phone monitoring transcription services. The selection follows a successful trial for the GDC. 

Facility security, crimes against persons, and gang activity topped the list of incidents captured by LeoTech during a trial of Verus software within the Georgia GDCin 2020. Within 30 days of activation, Verus processed 260,662 phone calls and flagged 33 incidents for investigation, including stimulus check fraud. Verus also flagged evidence that helped in the investigation of a white supremacist gang operating behind bars.

Since March 2020, Verus has monitored more than 7.5 million calls and delivered actionable evidence of criminal activity in 1,612 calls. The AWS natural language processing software embedded in Verus indicated the most frequent topics discussed among inmates and their outside sources that focused on weapons, contraband, cell phones, threats to inmates, gangs, homicides, assaults, and suicide.

“We built LeoTech to provide law enforcement with the best tools to counter criminal activity,” CEO Scott Kernan said. “Investigators leverage the information Verus collects and help prison systems shut down criminal activity that threatens inmates, staff, and surrounding communities.”

Built on the AWS platform, Verus is delivered as a cloud-based application, requiring no infrastructure changes for installation while also allowing for scalability to institution size or call volume. AWS Natural Language Processing (NLP) supports non-biased phone call analysis and transcription, enabling keyword-based searches and alerts. AWS Translation allows for immediate toggling between Spanish transcripts and English translations.

Verus is the only solution currently available on the market that offers continuous monitoring of phone calls and near real-time notifications on words that signal criminal intent. Its customizable law enforcement-oriented lexicon can be easily updated per location. In addition, Verus provides secured hosting of transcriptions through CJIS-compliant server hosting services.

Machine learning technology, together with investigative expertise, helps the system build out the keywords that Verus uses to identify crime, including slang and code words common among criminals, even on a hyper-local basis. “Our investigators have extensive knowledge of trends,” Kernan said. “Our technology leverages information faster and allows us to adapt to evolving scenarios and understanding of local slang. This in turn, results in better intelligence. This capability was a must-have for GDC, and we’re proud to support them.”

Contact LeoTech at
[email protected] | 310.526.3890

LeoTech Partners with Deliverfund to Fight Human Trafficking

LOS ANGELES, CA, February 4—LeoTech, a Los Angeles-based company providing technology to the corrections and law enforcement sector, has announced a partnership with the nonprofit DeliverFund to fight human trafficking.

Verus, developed by LeoTech, is a cloud-based software installed on top of phone systems within correctional and detention facilities. It automatically downloads, analyzes, and transcribes all recorded calls from inmates and detainees, proactively flags them for review, and provides immediate actionable intelligence in near real-time to investigators and correctional staff.

“The ability to search for keywords and set automated alerts gives Verus its power,” notes CEO Scott Kernan. “We’ve encountered criminals brazenly using jail phone systems to conduct sex trafficking crimes from behind bars. Keyword alerts have helped investigators uncover criminal conspiracies and take victims to safety.”

DeliverFund focuses on combatting human trafficking through technology and training, and through support services for victims. Founded by intelligence and military experts, DeliverFund has developed a proprietary human trafficking database and offers courses to law enforcement agencies. “The market for human trafficking is growing,” notes Michael Fullilove, Chief of Operations for DeliverFund. “It puts more than $975 million in the pockets of human traffickers every year. The epidemic is growing and it’s impacting neighborhoods around the country.”

LEO Technologies’ solutions are in use in metropolitan areas around the country and in states such as Alabama, California, and New York and have recently been adopted by the state Department of Corrections in Oklahoma. Verus has played a critical role in criminal investigations, such as the high-profile cases of Cupcake McKinney and Aniah Blanchard.

“Our missions overlap when it comes to the fight against human trafficking,” Kernan says. “We’re proud to support DeliverFund and their work to end this terrible trade.”

LeoTech is a leading-edge provider of technology for the corrections and law enforcement sectors. The company, a partner of Amazon Web Services, has recently been named to the AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency. 

To schedule an interview with Mr. Scott Kernan, contact LeoTech at [email protected] or 310.526.3890

LeoTech Named to AWS Public Safety and Disaster Response Competency

LOS ANGELES, CA, December 4—LeoTech is one of only 16 companies worldwide to be added to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Public Safety and Disaster Response (PSDR) Competency in the re:Invent Launch. As part of the AWS PSDR Competency, LEO Technologies will be featured in Amazon’s Technology Partner Section.

AWS extended this invitation to specialized AWS Partners in the public safety sector globally based on their proven success in helping customers leverage AWS cloud technology to prepare for, respond to, and recover from public safety emergencies. The AWS Competency kicks off the new AWS Competency Programs which identify, validate, and promote top AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners who demonstrate technical proficiency and customer success in specialized solution areas.

To receive the AWS Competency designation, AWS Partners go through rigorous technical validation with specialized AWS Solutions Architects and global segment leaders. “We’re very proud to achieve this distinction,” says LeoTech’s CEO Scott Kernan. “We’re in exclusive company. The AWS cloud platform offers capabilities that help our clients mitigate dangerous situations, especially this year with the pandemic.”

Verus, the company’s cloud-based inmate phone monitoring software, has helped jails and prisons respond to the emergency conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. LeoTech supported the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) while they launched the COVID-19 Industry Action Group in April 2020 to organize private and nonprofit sectors to assist law enforcement and first responders.

Verus has helped correctional facilities monitor and respond to potentially unsafe situations is effectively being used in jurisdictions across the country, leading to faster investigations and safer policing. “We deployed Verus by LeoTech in August 2020, and it is one the best force multipliers for my agency in its pursuit to make our communities safer and our agency more responsive,” said Chief of Police Art Acevedo, Houston Police Department. “Through this technology, we are working in near real time with all of our stakeholders at every level of government and are impacting issues facing Houston and communities throughout our state.”

Built on the AWS platform, Verus is delivered as a cloud-based application, requiring no infrastructure changes for installation while also allowing for scalability to institution size or call volume. AWS Natural Language Processing (NLP) supports non-biased phone call analysis and transcription, enabling keyword-based searches and alerts. Finally, AWS Translation allows for immediate toggling between Spanish transcripts and English translations.

“The use of our tools impacts those within jails and prisons and the safety of the greater community,” notes Mr. Kernan. “Our partnership with AWS makes our work possible.”

Contact LeoTech at
[email protected] | 310.526.3890

Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Awarded $700K for Innovative Policing Strategies

Suffolk County, NY,   November 16, 2020 – The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, a LeoTech customer, has received a $700K grant for tackling chronic crime with innovative, evidence-based solutions. The grant funds will support the county’s use of Verus, a patented cutting-edge software by LeoTech that leverages artificial intelligence to monitor inmate phone calls. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office is one of 10 jurisdictions selected by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to receive this grant.

Verus by LeoTech advances the technology-based approach introduced by Suffolk County Sheriff Dr. Errol D. Toulon, Jr.  This new, sophisticated tool integrates into correctional phone systems, and converts calls into searchable transcripts—to reduce crime, drug and sex trafficking, while also alerting correctional officers to mental health issues among inmates. Verus has even been used to support the COVID-19 response. A versatile and effective tool, Verus saves jurisdictions time and money in their criminal investigations and inmate interventions.

“When we developed Verus, we wanted to expedite the delivery of actionable information so law enforcement and health practitioners working with inmates could respond quickly to rapidly evolving situations,” said LeoTech CEO Scott Kernan.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office is leading the way to gain optimal advantage for its crime-fighting force. Sheriff of Suffolk County, Dr. Errol D. Toulon, Jr. has been a strong advocate of the use of data analytics and technology in his jurisdiction. LeoTech has been honored to work with his team to use actionable intelligence to prevent crime and foster inmate rehabilitation, which have been top priorities throughout Sheriff Toulon’s tenure.

“Sheriff Toulon and his team are an excellent model of successfully leveraging technology to enhance his staff’s investigative capabilities and opportunities.” said Kernan. “Verus equips the Suffolk County team in solving crime, creating safer communities, and addressing critical mental healthcare issues that lead to inmate rehabilitation.”

Sheriff Toulon has more than 30 years of criminal justice experience, mainly in corrections intelligence and combating gang violence. Prior to serving as Suffolk County Sheriff, Toulon worked for 22 years as a uniformed member of service with the New York City Department of Correction, including implementing new techniques as deputy commissioner of operations for the New York City Department of Correction.

“Early adoption of technological solutions has long-term benefits for communities throughout the United States,” says Kernan. “We hope Suffolk County is the first of many jurisdictions we can partner with to obtain funding to modernize safe policing.”

Today’s award for Strategies in Policing Innovation is part of a sweeping $458 million in federal grant funding to support state, local, and tribal law enforcement efforts to fight and prevent violent crime in jurisdictions across the United States.

Contact LeoTech at
[email protected] | 310.526.3890

National Sheriff’s Association Teams with LeoTech on COVID-19 Industry Action Group for Correctional Facilities

ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 13, 2020—The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) has formed an action group with industry partners, including LeoTech and Amazon Web Services (AWS), to help sheriffs’ offices get vital supplies as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. LeoTech is working with NSA to offer a 90-day trial of their inmate phone monitoring system, Verus, for qualified agencies to support pandemic-related mitigation efforts in their facilities.

Agencies interested in participating should visit LeoTech to request a demo and find out more about the Verus trial.

Verus is an AI-based technology developed on the AWS platform which automatically transcribes, monitors, and flags inmate phone calls. The system uses machine learning and automated speech recognition to identify specific conversations based on keywords. Transcriptions can be searched by keywords or other data. The system automatically translates Spanish transcriptions into English.

“NSA is committed to providing solutions that support the health and safety of our deputies and inmates during this crisis,” says Jonathan Thompson, NSA’s CEO and executive director. “Verus is an immediately available resource that can be implemented in inmate phone systems right now.”

“No other tool readily available on the market ingests, processes, transcribes, and analyzes the volume of inmate calls as Verus,” Ryan Reynolds of AWS notes.

“The threat level is at 10 now,” says LeoTech’s CEO Scott Kernan, former Secretary of Corrections for California. “Inmates and staff are at a high level of risk. We also have to face the fact of increased potential for lawsuits. Verus can play a critical role in protecting personnel and inmates while mitigating liability.”

In March, LeoTech noted that 10% of calls in facilities using Verus were related to the pandemic. In one incident, a directed search for the term “coughing” revealed a call recipient discussing coughing with jail staff.

Sheriffs around the country are seeing first-hand how Verus can help. “I was recommended this tool prior to [the] pandemic and took LEO up on a 90-day pilot,” states Sheriff Matthew Wade of Calhoun County, Alabama. “Not only can my investigators not live without it in the course of their normal duties, I am using the tool to mitigate future lawsuits after COVID has left my jails. The inmates are describing, in their own words, how my team is working to keep them safe and clean.”

“We are proud to work with NSA during this national emergency impacting sheriffs’ offices around the country,” says Kernan.