Intelligence and Surveillance Barber-ism #3 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. 0K, 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, e 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. 0K, 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. I ney’re going to develop a plan to take nvm clown wltnout 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 drafting a plan to make a safe entry into the apartment and sack up Joe without having to shoot the place up. All of the information the squad and the entry team gather in order to plan the raid is tactical intelligence. Do you see the difference?
The strategic intelligence was used to build a case. The tactical intelligence was used to conduct a specific police action. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. Tactical intelligence is gathered all the time strategic intelligence is being gathered. So how does that work. To gather strategic intelligence, the squad is going to have to follow Joe. Maybe some will be on foot, maybe some will be by car. They’re also going to have to sit up on him and do surveillance. Now, they’re not Just going to park behind Joe and follow him when he drives off, are they?
So they’ll have to gather information on where will be the best places to sit up without being made, how do e do foot surveillance, what kind of vehicles will fit best in the neighborhood, etc. In other words, the squad will have to use tactical information to develop specific operational plans to successfully surveillance Joe so they can gather enough strategic information to make a case. Whew! Hope that helps. So what about stakeouts. I thought it interesting that the text lists a number of stakeout vantage points [page 242] but only mentions vehicles briefly later in the chapter and implies they are a last resort.
Investigators do use some of the vantage points listed in the text but most stakeouts take place from vehicles. At least that’s y experience. Stakeouts are usually conducted by plain clothes folks but there are always uniforms nearby. Here’s an example. We used to get torn up by car burglars in the business parking lots along the Katy Freeway. Sometimes we would do stakeouts. Initially, we used an office in a local high-rise as a vantage point. It looked down on the target parking lot. Sometimes we used a bait car. In those situations we would place a computer case [with computer] in plain view within the car and wait.
If we got a bite, the spotter in the office would notify marked ground units who were waiting in the wings that a BMV had gone down. The spotter would direct the ground units to the suspect vehicle. If you think about it, there were a lot of limitations to this plan. Can you see any of them? On a number of occasions, we were able to link with HPD and conduct operations in tandem with them. They worked better because we had more resources. We could watch multiple parking lots, not Just one. We had access to cool cars that thief’s wouldn’t make as cops. They made for great on the ground surveillance.
And we had more marked cars on the street to make the actual arrest. On a side note, the state will allow police departments to register cool cars under a false registration. So if some nor-do-well gets suspicious and tries to get a registration from a cool car, he’ll get a false return. It’s most useful when an officer is working undercover and his targets are trying to find out if he can be trusted. The text talks about inside teams and outside teams. Here’s how it could nesn out. Homlc10e nas a warrant on some Dao guy tnat nangs out at a downtown bar.