Undercover Policing in America

Topics: Police, Undercover, Eugène François Vidocq Pages: 5 (1519 words) Published: August 16, 2009
Undercover Policing
First off to define being undercover is disguising one's own identity or using an assumed identity for the purposes of gaining the trust of an individual or organization to learn secret information or to gain the trust of targeted individuals in order to gain information or evidence. Being a undercover officer is a very hard task. You have to surpress your whole identity to fool another person into believe you are someone that your not. It is a very effective method of policing but also very difficult, most well established criminals know how to tell whether or not a officer is infact undercover.

Undercover policing helps stop various crimes ranging from the most popular being drug conspiracies, prostitution, gangs, and extremeist groups such as the Al-Queda, neo-nazi’s, The Klu Klux Klan, and other various political groups. Undercover officers or agents gather valuble information effiective enough to convict some of the worlds biggest criminals. These investigations can range from a few hours. Such as “buy and bust” operations where a narc trick drug dealers to sell them drugs and then arrest the offenders on the spot, to long-term deep investigations that take months. These investigations usually bring down gangs and extremist groups such as the Branch Davidians.

Undercover officers are impacted greatly by their work. Both pyschologically and physically. In order to pass for a criminal, the officer must psychology become a habitual offender, in both their actions and thoughts. One mistake could jerpordize the whole operation that took many months, even years to build. It is a very stressful job. These agents must become friends and confidants of the criminals they are investigating. They must know in detail about the crimes commited and at times even participate in them. A undercover officer must subside his or her feeling of guilt and morality in order to perform their job effectively. A great example of this is in the following quote found in a newspaper article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: “”Hardcore gangsters would be going to jail today, but for years I’ve been calling these gangsters my brothers. I was both proud of my work as an undercover agent and sad about the ramifications my work would have for some of the men I’ve grown close to… I knew their kids’ names and they told me they loved me.” This quote is by ATF agent Queen would knew that some of the hardcore gang Mongols he helped put into prison would have “died for me”. If one is uncovered as being an undercover agent, that person would very likely be killed on the spot depending on who he is dealing with. It is a very dangerous profession.

What does it take to be an undercover officer maybe one of the questions you are asking yourself, well in order to be a successful undercover agent one must posses various traits that are not found in everyone. A successful undercover operation only becomes successful if at the end of the day, all law enforcement personnel return safely home to their beloved families and one wrong move can jeopardize the whole thing. Undercover officers must be resourceful, manipulative and assertive. They must posses good negotiating skills, are professionally and personally mature. Also, a key into being an undercover officer is that one MUST communicate back with his or her chain of command. He must be advised constantly on his next move.

Keys to undercover safety are as follows: Planning, an operation must be carefully planned and executed by plan. Practice is also key, you cannot expect a person to know how to act in a moment when adreadaline is pumping through their veins, or when they are inhibited by fear. Good communication procedures must also be put into place, so the agent has adequate means of communicating back to his or her command station. Surveillance is also a major aspect. In many cases surveillance plays a major role in the conviction of the accused, and finally a major key to safety...
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