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NCJ Number
Police Chief Volume: 60 Issue: 6 Dated: (June 1993) Pages: 25-26,28-30,32- 34
L Pilant
Date Published
8 pages
Police officers use surveillance to provide cover for an undercover agent, gather intelligence, or establish probable cause.
Surveillance should be backed by a written policy on whom the agency will monitor, taking into account enabling legislation and what it requires. Officers must be trained and provided the proper equipment to ensure a successful operation. Good surveillance officers will exhibit exceptional common sense, be able to operate both independently and as a team member, have leadership skills, demonstrate presence of mind, be extremely patient, and be possessed of street savvy. Signals that a surveillance operation should be terminated must not be ignored: when the suspect wants to count the money, changes location of the transaction, comes armed, or brings new partners. Surveillance teams use various types of equipment including 35mm cameras, vehicles that blend in with the traffic, binoculars, cellular phones, video cameras, and communications equipment. Surveillance conducted at night requires officers to be furnished with night-vision and photography equipment. Electronic surveillance must be conducted in accordance with Federal laws prohibiting invasion of privacy and State laws that may mandate additional restrictions. The equipment needed includes a transmitter, receiver, and recorder. Other types of surveillance devices include tracking mechanisms, pen registers, map readers, and countersurveillance products.