Lesson 3: Intelligence and Surveillance
Chapter 7 notes
The text does a pretty poor job of defining intelligence gathering and the difference between strategic and tactical intelligence. Let me take a shot at it and see if I can make it simple. Criminal intelligence in its most simple form is gathering information on the places a person goes, the folks the person interacts with, and the business in which the person is engaged because it is suspected the person is involved in, has been involved in, or will be involved in criminal behavior. Now, that may seem as awkward as the book definition and if it does I apologize. But it makes more sense to me than does the text. Here's the best way to distinguish strategic intelligence from tactical intelligence for our purposes. Strategic intelligence is information gathering for the purpose of building a criminal case. Tactical intelligence is information gathering for the purpose of executing a specific police action [usually, that translates arrest]. Maybe an example will help unravel all this goo. Let’s say an investigative squad gets information from a reliable source that Joe Doaks is engaged in human trafficking for the purpose of compelling prostitution. The squad may open a file on Joe with just the initial information. That's the start of a strategic intelligence file. OK, so they start checking up on Joe, the first thing they do is check his rap sheet and low and behold, Joe was arrested for human trafficking some years back but the case was dismissed. So that goes in the strategic intelligence file. Through different surveillance techniques, the squad learns that Joe is associating with some folks known to engage in human trafficking. Furthermore, he is seen frequenting places where prostitution is known to occur. All the pictures, notes, etc. documenting all those facts go in the file. The squad gets a memo from the Vice Division saying they ran a raid on a massage parlor and arrested three girls for prostitution. The girls were all under age, none spoke English, and they told the Vice officers [through an interpreter] that they were kidnapped and forced to be sex workers. Obviously, all this goes in the file as well. So the squad puts together a picture line-up with Joe's picture in it and shows it to the girls. Two of them point out Joe and say he is the guy that took charge of them when they were brought across the border. Their statements also go in the file. Now, there was an initial offense report probably labeled Investigation Human Trafficking or something like that. All the officer's subsequent actions would have been documented in supplements to the original report. All that’s in the file. By now, the squad has developed a healthy file on Joe and they have enough to get a warrant. All of this stuff is strategic intelligence. OK, so how does tactical intelligence fit into all this? I'm glad you asked. The squad has enough to get a warrant on Joe. But Joe is a bad dude. The squad learned from watching Joe that he's always packing at least one gun. Furthermore, his rap sheet indicates he's been charged with Attempted Murder [firearm] in the past. It was reduced to Aggravated Assault and he did 5 years. Bottom line, the squad isn't going to just walk up to Joe, say howdy Mr. Doaks, by the way, you’re under arrest. No. They're going to develop a plan to take him down without incident. In order to formulate the plan, they will have to develop some tactical intelligence. From following Joe, they may learn that he goes to an apartment when he wants to crash for a while. They may learn from the apartment manager whose' on the lease, how many folks stay there, and what does the apartment floor plan look like. Then they'll watch the apartment until Joe comes back. They may even have cleared the apartment before Joe gets there just to make sure he'll be alone. In the meantime, an entry team is busy...
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