CUMBERLAND — A few months after opening an office off Gray Road, tech company Call2test aims to expand its business in the probation and parole markets by hiring 25 new employees this year.

Considering the company at the end of last year consisted only of founder and CEO Sam Hotchkiss and Account Executive Stephen Quirk, that’s a significant leap. Six employees have been hired since January.

Based on Faraday Drive in a new building it shares with Casco Systems, Call2test develops technology that streamlines the remote monitoring of people on probation and parole, promising to boost efficiency while reducing costs.

“What we’re doing is really having an impact nationwide, but not a lot of people around here know that we’re even here,” Hotchkiss said May 15.

Expansion was by no means a quick and easy process.

“We quickly learned that it takes a long time to convince government to use your system,” the Cumberland resident said. “They really don’t want to use anything that’s not tested, and they’re sure is going to be there, so it took a long time for us to start getting customers. We really started to pick up courts about five years ago, and in the last 18 months it’s really accelerated.”

The company last year secured a e contract with the state of Oregon to handle all its drug courts, and also has a contract with Cook County, Illinois, which includes Chicago.

“We started to get to the point where these larger jurisdictions had seen us for long enough that they would trust that we were doing what we were doing,”
Hotchkiss said.

Founded in Colorado in 2009, the business eventually moved to New Mexico, Brunswick, and Portland, before settling in Cumberland early this year.

Call2test offers a smartphone application that gives offenders a quick and simple means of connecting with their case managers, and plans later this year to roll out an ankle bracelet significantly smaller and less expensive than existing models.

The app, ConnectComply, is used by 140 courts in 30 states, according to a May 13 company press release. Launched in March 2018, ConnectComply enables participants to check in using an Android or iOS phone by taking a selfie with the app to complete their check-in with a case manager or patrol officer.

The app uploads the image, marking the date and time the person checks in. The program also provides the phone’s geolocation data, ensuring that the person is where he or she is supposed to be.

ConnectComply then informs the person whether a drug or alcohol test is due that day. It also provides automated curfew checks and court reminders. Its secure messaging system, compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, allows for quick communication between offenders and managers.

“You can send your (parole officer) a message and say, ‘hey, it’s flagging me for a drug test today, but I’m stuck on  a construction job; is there any way we can reschedule for tomorrow?,” Hotchkiss said. “And you’ve got that communication line there available to you as well.”

The technology provides an alternative to an ankle monitor – the least expensive of which cost about $500, he said – geared toward clients more likely to uphold the courts’ trust.

“You tailor the solution for each individual offender, based on what they need,” Hotchkiss said. “If you are further along in that spectrum of trust, you might not need any other hardware other than your phone.”

As of about 1 p.m. May 15, more than 25,000 offenders had used the software to check in that day, he said.

In cases where ConnectComply is not in use, a law enforcement officer might be sent knocking on the door of a paroled person who has to be home at night, to ensure that person is complying with parole conditions. With the app, the person’s phone could randomly go off in the middle of the night, prompting him to complete a check in and validate his location, avoiding the need for the officer to tie up time with a visit, Hotchkiss said.

It also helps with people awaiting trial who can’t afford bail. Instead of having to stay in jail, they can be monitored through ConnectComply.

“If you’re in a situation where you can’t come up with $300 to get out of jail, you’ve got a lot of things on the edge,” Hotchkiss said. “Finally jurisdictions are starting to realize that, but that means vastly increasing the number of people who are on pre-trial release.”

But rather than having them check into the case manager’s office each week to ensure they’re around, “how about you have them check in through the phone every day?,” he added. “That’s going to let you know they’re still here in the state, and then you can trigger drug tests as needed.”

As demonstrated by what he’s seen in drug courts, Hotchkiss said, that daily ritual helps ensure compliance.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sam Hotchkiss is founder and CEO of Call2test, a Cumberland company that recently launched a smartphone application that allows people on parole or probation to check in with officers.

Used by 140 courts in 30 states, ConnectComply enables participants to check in using an Android or iOS phone, take a selfie with the app and check in with their case manager or patrol officer. The app also advises if a drug or alcohol test is due that day.

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