Thursday, April 27, 2006
Using poker as analogy for leadership, Captain Andrew Harvey, CPD (ret.), PhD and Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA found the right mix of practical experience and academic credentials to write a definitive book for leaders. Most often leaders find they are given a set of resources – people, equipment, funds, experience and mission. As Foster noted, “You are dealt a certain hand. And, how you play that hand as a leader determines your success.”
Click here to visit the website for more information.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
- Work hours are often irregular, and the work can be dangerous.
- About 1 in 4 are self-employed.
- Applicants typically have related experience in areas such as law enforcement, insurance, the military, or government investigative or intelligence jobs.
- Despite faster-than-average employment growth, keen competition is expected because of the large number of qualified people who are attracted to this occupation; the most opportunities will be found in entry-level jobs with detective agencies or in stores that hire detectives on a part-time basis.
Nature of the Work
Private investigator and detectives use many methods to determine the facts in a variety of matters. To carry out investigations, they may use various types of surveillance or searches. To verify facts, such as an individuals place of employment or income, they may make phone calls or visit a subjects workplace. In other cases, especially those involving missing persons and background checks, investigators often interview people to gather as much information as possible about an individual. In all cases, private detectives and investigators assist attorneys, businesses, and the public with legal, financial, and personal problems.
Private detectives and investigators offer many services, including executive, corporate, and celebrity protection; pre-employment verification; and individual background profiles. They investigate computer crimes, such as identity theft, harassing e-mails, and illegal downloading of copyrighted material. They also provide assistance in civil liability and personal injury cases, insurance claims and fraud, child custody and protection cases, missing persons cases, and premarital screening. They are sometimes hired to investigate individuals to prove or disprove infidelity.
Most detectives and investigators are trained to perform physical surveillance. They may observe a site, such as the home of a subject, from an inconspicuous location or a vehicle. They continue the surveillance, which is often carried out using still and video cameras, binoculars, and a cell phone, until the desired evidence is obtained. This watching and waiting often continues for a long time.
Detectives also may perform computer database searches or work with someone who does. Computers allow investigators to quickly obtain massive amounts of information on individuals prior arrests, convictions, and civil legal judgments; telephone numbers; motor vehicle registrations; association and club memberships; and other matters.
The duties of private investigators depend on the needs of their clients. In cases for employers that involve fraudulent workers compensation claims, for example, investigators may carry out long-term covert observation of subjects. If an investigator observes a subject performing an activity that contradicts injuries stated in a workers compensation claim, the investigator would take video or still photographs to document the activity and report it to the client.
Private detectives and investigators often specialize. Those who focus on intellectual property theft, for example, investigate and document acts of piracy, help clients stop illegal activity, and provide intelligence for prosecution and civil action. Other investigators specialize in developing financial profiles and asset searches. Their reports reflect information gathered through interviews, investigation and surveillance, and research, including review of public documents.
Legal investigators specialize in cases involving the courts and are normally employed by law firms or lawyers. They frequently assist in preparing criminal defenses, locating witnesses, serving legal documents, interviewing police and prospective witnesses, and gathering and reviewing evidence. Legal investigators also may collect information on the parties to the litigation, take photographs, testify in court, and assemble evidence and reports for trials.
Corporate investigators conduct internal and external investigations for corporations. In internal investigations, they may investigate drug use in the workplace, ensure that expense accounts are not abused, or determine whether employees are stealing merchandise or information. External investigations are typically done to uncover criminal schemes originating outside the corporation, such as theft of company assets through fraudulent billing of products by suppliers.
Financial investigators may be hired to develop confidential financial profiles of individuals or companies that are prospective parties to large financial transactions. These investigators often are certified public accountants (CPAs) who work closely with investment bankers and other accountants. They search for assets in order to recover damages awarded by a court in fraud or theft cases.
Detectives who work for retail stores or hotels are responsible for controlling losses and protecting assets. Store detectives, also known as loss prevention agents, safeguard the assets of retail stores by apprehending anyone attempting to steal merchandise or destroy store property. They prevent theft by shoplifters, vendor representatives, delivery personnel and even store employees. Store detectives also conduct periodic inspections of stock areas, dressing rooms, and restrooms, and sometimes assist in opening and closing the store. They may prepare loss prevention and security reports for management and testify in court against persons they apprehend. Hotel detectives protect guests of the establishment from theft of their belongings and preserve order in hotel restaurants and bars. They also may keep undesirable individuals, such as known thieves, off the premises.
Private detectives and investigators often work irregular hours because of the need to conduct surveillance and contact people who are not available during normal working hours. Early morning, evening, weekend, and holiday work is common.
Many detectives and investigators spend time away from their offices conducting interviews or doing surveillance, but some work in their office most of the day conducting computer searches and making phone calls. Those who have their own agencies and employ other investigators may work primarily in an office and have normal business hours.
When the investigator is working on a case away from the office, the environment might range from plush boardrooms to seedy bars. Store and hotel detectives work in the businesses that they protect. Investigators generally work alone, but they sometimes work with others during surveillance or when following a subject in order to avoid detection by the subject.
Some of the work involves confrontation, so the job can be stressful and dangerous. Some situations call for the investigator to be armed, such as certain bodyguard assignments for corporate or celebrity clients. Detectives and investigators who carry handguns must be licensed by the appropriate authority. In most cases, however, a weapon is not necessary, because the purpose of the work is gathering information and not law enforcement or criminal apprehension. Owners of investigative agencies have the added stress of having to deal with demanding and sometimes distraught clients.
Training, Other Qualifications,and Advancement
There are no formal education requirements for most private detective and investigator jobs, although many private detectives have college degrees. Private detectives and investigators typically have previous experience in other occupations. Some work initially for insurance or collections companies, in the private security industry, or as paralegals. Many investigators enter the field after serving in law enforcement, the military, government auditing and investigative positions, or Federal intelligence jobs.
Former law enforcement officers, military investigators, and government agents, who are frequently able to retire after 25 years of service, often become private detectives or investigators in a second career. Others enter from such diverse fields as finance, accounting, commercial credit, investigative reporting, insurance, and law. These individuals often can apply their prior work experience in a related investigative specialty. A few enter the occupation directly after graduation from college, generally with associates or bachelors degrees in criminal justice or police science.
The majority of States and the District of Colombia require private detectives and investigators to be licensed. Licensing requirements vary, however: seven States Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota have no statewide licensing requirements, some States have few requirements, and many other States have stringent regulations. A growing number of States are enacting mandatory training programs for private detectives and investigators. For example, the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services of the California Department of Consumer Affairs requires private investigators to be 18 years of age or older; have a combination of education in police science, criminal law, or justice and experience equaling 3 years (6,000 hours) of investigative experience; pass a criminal history background check by the California Department of Justice and the FBI (in most States, convicted felons cannot be issued a license); and receive a qualifying score on a 2-hour written examination covering laws and regulations. There are additional requirements for a firearms permit.
For private detective and investigator jobs, most employers look for individuals with ingenuity, persistence, and assertiveness. A candidate must not be afraid of confrontation, should communicate well, and should be able to think on his or her feet. Good interviewing and interrogation skills also are important and usually are acquired in earlier careers in law enforcement or other fields. Because the courts often are the ultimate judge of a properly conducted investigation, the investigator must be able to present the facts in a manner that a jury will believe.
Training in subjects such as criminal justice and police science is helpful to aspiring private detectives and investigators. Most corporate investigators must have a bachelors degree, preferably in a business-related field. Some corporate investigators have a masters degree in business administration or a law degree, while others are CPAs. Corporate investigators hired by large companies may receive formal training from their employers on business practices, management structure, and various finance-related topics. The screening process for potential employees typically includes a background check for a criminal history.
Some investigators receive certification from a professional organization to demonstrate competency in a field. For example, the National Association of Legal Investigators (NALI) confers the Certified Legal Investigator designation to licensed investigators who devote a majority of their practice to negligence or criminal defense investigations. To receive the designation, applicants must satisfy experience, educational, and continuing-training requirements and must pass written and oral exams administered by the NALI.
Most private-detective agencies are small, with little room for advancement. Usually, there are no defined ranks or steps, so advancement takes the form of increases in salary and assignment status. Many detectives and investigators work for detective agencies at the beginning of their careers and, after a few years, start their own firms. Corporate and legal investigators may rise to supervisor or manager of the security or investigations department.
Private detectives and investigators held about 43,000 jobs in 2004. About 26 percent were self-employed, including many who held a secondary job as a self-employed private detective. Around 27 percent of jobs were in investigation and security services, including private detective agencies, while another 15 percent were in department or other general merchandise stores. The rest worked mostly in State and local government, legal services firms, employment services companies, insurance agencies, and credit mediation establishments, including banks and other depository institutions.
Keen competition is expected because private detective and investigator careers attract many qualified people, including relatively young retirees from law enforcement and military careers. The best opportunities will be in entry-level jobs with detective agencies or in stores that hire detectives on a part-time basis. The best prospects for those seeking store detective jobs will be with large chains and discount stores.
Employment of private detectives and investigators is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. In addition to growth, replacement of those who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons should create many job openings. Increased demand for private detectives and investigators will result from fear of crime, increased litigation, and the need to protect confidential information and property of all kinds. The proliferation of criminal activity on the Internet, such as identity theft, spamming, e-mail harassment, and illegal downloading of copyrighted materials, will increase the demand for private investigators. Employee background checks, conducted by private investigators, will become standard for an increasing number of jobs. Growing financial activity worldwide will increase the demand for investigators to control internal and external financial losses and to monitor competitors and prevent industrial spying.
Median annual earnings of salaried private detectives and investigators were $32,110 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,080 and $43,260. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,470. Earnings of private detectives and investigators vary greatly by employer, specialty, and geographic area.
Private detectives and investigators often collect information and protect the property and other assets of companies and individuals. Others with related duties include bill and account collectors; claims adjusters, appraisers, examiners, and investigators; police and detectives; and security guards and gaming surveillance officers. Investigators who specialize in conducting financial profiles and asset searches perform work closely related to that of accountants, auditors, financial analysts, and personal financial advisors.
Sources of Additional Information
For information on local licensing requirements, contact your State Department of Public Safety, State Division of Licensing, or local or State police headquarters.
For information on a career as a legal investigator and about the Certified Legal Investigator credential, contact:
National Association of Legal Investigators, 908 21st St., Sacramento, CA 95814-3118. Internet: http://www.nalionline.org/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Private Detectives and Investigators.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
The introduction of mobile technology into law enforcement has increased dramatically. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, in 2000, 75% of local police officers and 61% of sheriffs' officers worked for an agency that used in-field computers or terminals, compared to 30% and 28% in 1990[i]. Just at the rate of application has increased, so has the sophistication of the equipment. Indeed, in the previous article we saw that police in-field computers have steadily graduated from “dumb” terminals to fully-functioning computers.
Sophisticated equipment has given the street police officer access to more and better information and provided him or her with a variety of means to capture information. Unfortunately, we may be somewhat lagging in our ability to apply that information in our field investigations and tactics. In this article we will explore some of the possible uses of technology in field investigations.
Hot Cars and Hot Data
On patrol you probably pass hundreds of cars each day. While an in-car computer gives you the ability to run each license plate you pass[ii], you just don’t have the time. Absent probable cause or reasonable suspicion to stop a vehicle, you can increase your odds of finding stolen cars and wanted suspects by narrowing your search. There is significant research that shows a strong correlation between crime and drugs, alcohol and age. Moreover, there is research to indicate that being under the influence of drugs or alcohol strongly increases the likelihood of arrest for both property crimes and violent crimes[iii].
One way to narrow your search is to go to locations where you know there is drugs and/or alcohol. As an example, try visiting all of the bars in your area an hour before closing. Drive through the parking lot and surrounding streets checking the vehicle license numbers. You will find a stolen car. And, you know when the suspect is going to return – at closing. By narrowing your search to an area with alcohol and vehicles, and then using the power of your in-car computer you have significantly increased the odds you will locate a stolen car.
Another tip is to look in motel parking lots. It will only take you a minute or so to glide through the parking lot and check the license numbers. The transient nature of motels often lends itself to drug sales and parties. I have often found that illegal activity tends to increase in “shabbier” motels between 0100 hours and 0400 hours. Locations that provide off-site sales of alcohol, just after midnight until closing are another good hunting ground for stolen cars and Driving Under the Influence arrests. A person making the last “beer run” of the night is very likely to young, under the influence and obviously not planning ahead.
Research indicates the peak years for committing crime are 17 to 21, steadily decreasing thereafter. Remember that we are not using the research to build probable cause or reasonable suspicion. We are using it to narrow our random use of the in-car computer. We are simply going to locations where there are likely to young males, alcohol and vehicles.
Warrants, Fugitives and Lies
The in-car computer has given us tremendous access to information from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Generally, when you check NCIC you are actually querying up to 22 separate databases containing over 66 million records[iv]. For instance, from your in-car vehicle NCIC gives you access to data about stolen vehicles, license plates, boats and guns. And, you can obtain information on wanted persons, missing persons and other fugitives.
As you uncover stolen vehicles you will run across vehicles stolen out of state. It is important for both your investigation and safety that you realize this is a different type of investigation. If you find a suspect driving a car stolen from out of your state you will not be booking them for the car theft. You will be booking them for being a fugitive from the state wherein in the car was stolen. So, you are not conducting a stolen vehicle investigation, but a fugitive investigation. As you articulate your reasonable suspicion to search the suspect and the vehicle remember the person is a fugitive from another state.
Before the advent of the in-car computer the number of people you could “run” for warrants was limited by the “air time.” Especially on night watch, you simply couldn’t run each and every suspect you stopped. Perhaps more importantly, you rarely had access to a suspect’s driving record. Now, with in-car computers, and as officer safety permits, both warrants and driving records can be routinely checked during field investigations.
Of course, many of the people we stop do not have identification. We rely on them to provide the information we use to check the various databases. And, as the old adage goes – garbage in/garbage out. Simply put, you can’t make effective use of the in-car technology without good information on the suspect. But, there are some ways you can use and perhaps store information in your in-car computer that may be helpful in determining a suspect’s true identify.
The first step in finding out someone’s true identity is determining the truthfulness of their statements. If you can figure out that the information they have provide is accurate you need go no further. Generally, social security numbers are issued by state. If you ask someone their social security number and they can at least remember the first three digits you can compare that information against the information about their place of birth.
Although there are a few people who are born in one state and move before they are issued a social security number, the tax law changes that require dependants over a year old to have a social security number has significantly reduced the number of people whose place of birth and place of social security number issuance do not match. If the suspect’s information does not match you have a clue that the information they are providing may be untruthful.
Click here to download a Social Security number issuance chart or astrological sign chart.
When a suspect does not have identification try asking for their parents full name before you ask them their name. If the suspect intends to conceal their identity they may have a ready made false name for themselves. But, you can throw them for a mental loop by asking for their parent’s names. They will either provide you with their parent’s real names (thereby short-circuiting their efforts to conceal their own identity) or their delay in answering may provide you with further evidence that they are attempting to conceal their identity[v].
Most databases that you access with your in-car computer query an age range. For instance, if you run a suspect with a date of birth in 1960, it will likely query several years each side of that year. So, by general appearance you have one third of the date of birth information you need to accurately check for wants and warrants. One technique you can use to verify information is to ask the suspect for their astrological sign. Generally, I ask this question a few questions after the date of birth question. If the suspect tells you they were born in October, but tell you they are a Pisces, you know they were likely to be born in late February or early March and not October.
If you in-car computer has a floppy disc drive you can download information like social security numbers and astrological charts. You simply make yourself a disc with all of the information you gather you can use this to check against self-reported information. Also, consider the use of a floppy disc to keep e-files on your penal code, vehicle code, etc. This will give you ready access to important information in your mobile office.
Information Imbalance Equals Danger
Officers working with a partner should employ the concept of “cover and contact.” That is, one officer is primarily responsible for contacting the traffic violator, suspect or witness and the second officer is primarily responsible to provide tactical cover. This clear division of responsibility greatly enhances officer safety and may ultimately strengthen investigations. The use of your in-car computer can unnecessarily distract you from the suspect(s). It is your partner’s (or back-up officer’s) responsibility to maintain control of the suspects and the surrounding are while you use the in-field computer. Remember, there are danger points during an investigation caused by the imbalance of information between you and the suspect. The suspect knows whether he or she is wanted. Points in time when the suspects feel you are distracted and attempting to verify their information are danger points. These are times that may motivate the suspect to flee or attack.
Police work is about information. Your in-car computer provides you access to a wealth of information. But, that information is only as good as your ability to creatively apply it. In the next article in this series we will look ahead at some of the developing technologies for the mobile office.
About the Author
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA is the author of Police Technology (Prentice Hall, July 2004); and the co-author of Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style (Quill Driver Books, September 2006), From NYPD to LAPD: An Introduction to Policing (Prentice Hall, January 2007) and, From Cold War to Flaming Hot War: Homeland Security and the Global War on Terror (Prentice Hall, July 2007). His complete CV can be viewed at Criminal Justice Profiles. Raymond can be reached on the Criminal Justice Online Forum or at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Law Enforcement Management and Administration Statistics (LEMAS) 2000, Bureau of Justice Statistics
[ii] Generally, probably cause is not needed to randomly check licenses plates. For instance, in State v. Richter, 765 A.2d 687 (N.H. 2000), the court found that "Such a check is not a search subject to the protections of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. See State v. Bjerke, 697 A.2d 1069, 1073 (R.I.1997) (holding that a defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in a motor vehicle license plate). Nor does it constitute a search within the meaning of Part I, Article 19 of the New Hampshire Constitution. 'In considering what constitutes a search for purposes of our Constitution, we have stated that a search ordinarily implies a quest by an officer of the law, a prying into hidden places for that which is concealed.' State v. Summers, 142 N.H. 429, 432, 702 A.2d 819, 821 (1997) (quotation and brackets omitted). In no way can the visual inspection of a license plate mounted in public view on the front or rear of a vehicle be considered 'prying into hidden places for that which is concealed.' Nor can the officer's subsequent check of associated motor vehicle licenses and records, when 'the state is the very body that issues, controls and regulates' such licenses and records.” However, you should be guided by state and local law and policy.
[iii] Harrison, L. & Gfroerer, J. (1992). The intersection of drug use and criminal behavior: results for the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. Crime and Delinquency. 38(4), 422-443.
[iv] Status of IDENT/IAFIS Integration, Report No. I-2002-003, Department of Justice, December 7, 2001
[v] According to NCIC, most databases are search and return information on phonetically similar names (e.g. Marko, Marco or Knowles, Nowles or derivatives of names such as William,Willie, Bill).
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Additionally, I teach two LEO related courses at Cal State Fullerton. In both classes we explored hate crime as it relates to the web. As part of their assignment the students are posting in an OSINT threaded discussion on the Criminal Justice Online forum at
You might find that discussion interesting. Note that it is taking place in the forum area devoted to “Terrorism and Criminal Justice.” While our national efforts seem to be focused abroad there is certainly potential here at home.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
- Police and detective work can be dangerous and stressful.
- Competition should remain keen for higher paying jobs with State and Federal agencies and police departments in affluent areas; opportunities will be better in local and special police departments that offer relatively low salaries or in urban communities where the crime rate is relatively high.
- Applicants with college training in police science or military police experience should have the best opportunities.
People depend on police officers and detectives to protect their lives and property. Law enforcement officers, some of whom are State or Federal special agents or inspectors, perform these duties in a variety of ways, depending on the size and type of their organization. In most jurisdictions, they are expected to exercise authority when necessary, whether on or off duty.
Uniformed police officers have general law enforcement duties, including maintaining regular patrols and responding to calls for service. They may direct traffic at the scene of an accident, investigate a burglary, or give first aid to an accident victim. In large police departments, officers usually are assigned to a specific type of duty. Many urban police agencies are involved
in community policing—a practice in which an officer builds relationships with the citizens of local neighborhoods and mobilizes the public to help fight crime.
Police agencies are usually organized into geographic districts, with uniformed officers assigned to patrol a specific area, such as part of the business district or outlying residential eighborhoods. Officers may work alone, but, in large agencies, they often patrol with a partner. While on patrol, officers attempt to become thoroughly familiar with their patrol area and remain alert for anything unusual. Suspicious circumstances and hazards to public safety are investigated or noted, and officers are dispatched to individual calls for assistance within their district. During their shift, they may identify, pursue, and arrest suspected criminals; resolve problems within
the community; and enforce traffic laws.
Public college and university police forces, public school district police, and agencies serving transportation systems and facilities are examples of special police agencies. These agencies have special geographic jurisdictions and enforcement responsibilities in the United States. Most sworn personnel in special agencies are uniformed officers; a smaller number are investigators.
Some police officers specialize in such diverse fields as chemical and microscopic analysis, training and firearms instruction, or handwriting and fingerprint identification. Others work with special units, such as horseback, bicycle, motorcycle or harbor patrol; canine corps; special weapons and tactics (SWAT); or emergency response teams. A few local and special law enforcement officers primarily perform jail-related duties or work in courts. Regardless of
job duties or location, police officers and detectives at all levels must write reports and maintain meticulous records that will be needed if they testify in court.
Sheriffs and deputy sheriffs enforce the law on the county level. Sheriffs are usually elected to their posts and perform duties similar to those of a local or county police chief. Sheriffs’ departments tend to be relatively small, most having fewer than 50 sworn officers. Deputy sheriffs have law enforcement duties similar to those of officers in urban police departments.
Police and sheriffs’ deputies who provide security in city and county courts are sometimes called bailiffs. (For information on other officers who work in jails and prisons, see correctional
officers elsewhere in the Handbook.)
State police officers (sometimes called State troopers or highway patrol officers) arrest criminals Statewide and patrol highways to enforce motor vehicle laws and regulations. State police officers are best known for issuing traffic citations to motorists. At the scene of accidents, they may direct traffic, give first aid, and call for emergency equipment. They also write reports used to determine the cause of the accident. State police officers are frequently called upon to render assistance to other law enforcement agencies, especially those in rural areas or small towns.
State law enforcement agencies operate in every State except Hawaii. Most full-time sworn personnel are uniformed officers who regularly patrol and respond to calls for service. Others work as investigators, perform court-related duties, or carry out administrative or other assignments.
criminal enterprises. They enjoy the widest jurisdiction of any Federal law enforcement agency and are involved to some degree in nearly all Federal law enforcement efforts. In addition, U.S. marshals pursue and arrest Federal fugitives.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents regulate and investigate violations of Federal firearms and explosives laws, as well as Federal alcohol and tobacco tax regulations.
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Diplomatic Security special agents are engaged in the battle against terrorism. Overseas, they advise ambassadors on all security matters and manage a complex range of security programs designed to protect personnel, facilities, and information. In the United States, they investigate passport and visa fraud, conduct personnel security investigations, issue security clearances, and protect the Secretary of State and a number of foreign dignitaries. They also train foreign civilian police and administer a counter-terrorism reward program.
The Department of Homeland Security employs numerous law enforcement officers under several different agencies, including Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the U.S. Secret Service. U.S. Border Patrol agents protect more than 8,000 miles of international land and water boundaries. Their missions are to detect and prevent the smuggling and unlawful entry of undocumented foreign nationals into the United States; to apprehend those persons violating the immigration laws; and to interdict contraband, such as narcotics.
Immigration inspectors interview and examine people seeking entrance to the United States and its territories. They inspect passports to determine whether people are legally eligible to enter the United States. Immigration inspectors also prepare reports, maintain records, and process applications and petitions for immigration or temporary residence in the United States.
Customs inspectors enforce laws governing imports and exports by inspecting cargo, baggage, and articles worn or carried by people, vessels, vehicles, trains, and aircraft entering or leaving the United States. These inspectors examine, count, weigh, gauge, measure, and sample commercial and noncommercial cargoes entering and leaving the United States.
Customs inspectors seize prohibited or smuggled articles; intercept contraband; and apprehend, search, detain, and arrest violators of U.S. laws. Customs agents investigate violations, such as narcotics smuggling, money laundering, law
enforcement officers witness death and suffering resulting from accidents and criminal behavior. A career in law enforcement may take a toll on their private lives.
Uniformed officers, detectives, agents, and inspectors are usually scheduled to work 40-hour weeks, but paid overtime is common. Shift work is necessary because protection must be provided around the clock. Junior officers frequently work weekends, holidays, and nights. Police officers and detectives are required to work at any time their services are needed and may work long hours during investigations. In most jurisdictions, whether on or off duty, officers are expected to be armed and to exercise their authority whenever necessary.
The jobs of some Federal agents such as U.S. Secret Service and DEA special agents require extensive travel, often on very short notice. They may relocate a number of times over the course of their careers. Some special agents in agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol work outdoors in rugged terrain for long periods and in all kinds of weather.
Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement
Civil service regulations govern the appointment of police and detectives in most States, large municipalities, and special police agencies, as well as in many smaller jurisdictions. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, usually must be at least 20 years of age, and must meet rigorous physical and personal qualifications. Physical examinations for entrance into law enforcement often
include tests of vision, hearing, strength, and agility. Eligibility for appointment usually depends on performance in competitive written examinations and previous education and experience. In larger departments, where the majority of law enforcement jobs are found, applicants usually must have at least a high school education, and some departments require a year or two of college coursework. Federal and State agencies typically require a college degree. Candidates should enjoy working with people and meeting the public.
Because personal characteristics such as honesty, sound judgment, integrity, and a sense of responsibility are especially important in law enforcement, candidates are interviewed by senior officers, and their character traits and backgrounds are investigated. In some agencies, candidates are interviewed by a psychiatrist or a psychologist or given a personality test. Most applicants are subjected to lie detector examinations or drug testing. Some agencies subject
sworn personnel to random drug testing as a condition of continuing employment.
Before their first assignments, officers usually go through a period of training. In State and large local departments, recruits get training in their agency’s police academy, often for 12 to 14 weeks. In small agencies, recruits often attend a regional or State academy. Training includes classroom instruction in constitutional law and civil rights, State laws and local ordinances, and accident investigation. Recruits also receive training and supervised experience in patrol, traffic control, use of firearms, self-defense, first aid, and emergency response. Police departments in some large cities hire high school graduates who are still in their teens as police cadets or trainees.
They do clerical work and attend classes, usually for 1 to 2 years, at which point they reach the minimum age requirement and may be appointed to the regular force.
Police officers usually become eligible for promotion after a probationary period ranging from 6 months to 3 years. In a large department, promotion may enable an officer to become a detective or to specialize in one type of police work, such as working with juveniles. Promotions to corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, and captain usually are made according to a candidate’s position on a promotion list, as determined by scores on a written examination and
Most States require at least two years of college study to qualify as a fish and game warden. Applicants must pass written and physical examinations and vision, hearing, psychological, and drug tests similar to those taken by other law enforcement officers. Once hired, officers attend a training academy lasting from 3 to 12 months, sometimes followed by further training in the field.
To be considered for appointment as an FBI agent, an applicant must be a graduate of an accredited law school or a college graduate with one of the following: a major in accounting, electrical engineering, or information technology; fluency in a foreign language; or three years of related full-time work experience. All new agents undergo 18 weeks of training at the FBI Academy on the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.
Applicants for special agent jobs with the U.S. Secret Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms must have a bachelor’s degree, a minimum of three years’ related work experience, or a combination of education and experience. Prospective special agents undergo 11 weeks of initial criminal investigation training at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia, and another 17 weeks of specialized training with their particular
Applicants for special agent jobs with the DEA must have a college degree with at least a 2.95 grade point average or specialized skills or work experience, such as foreign language fluency, technical skills, law enforcement experience, or accounting experience. DEA special agents undergo 14 weeks of specialized training at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.
U.S. Border Patrol agents must be U.S. citizens, be younger than 37 years of age at the time of appointment, possess a valid driver’s license, and pass a three-part examination on reasoning and language skills. A bachelor’s degree or previous work experience that demonstrates the ability to handle stressful situations, make decisions, and take charge is required for a position as a Border Patrol agent. Applicants may qualify through a combination of education and work experience.
Postal inspectors must have a bachelor’s degree and 1 year of related work experience. It is desirable that they have one of several professional certifications, such as that of certified public accountant. They also must pass a background investigation, meet certain health requirements, undergo a drug screening test, possess a valid State driver’s license, and be a U.S. citizen
between 21 and 36 years of age when hired.
Law enforcement agencies are encouraging applicants to take postsecondary school training in law enforcement-related subjects. Many entry-level applicants for police jobs have completed some formal postsecondary education, and a significant number are college graduates. Many junior colleges, colleges, and universities offer programs in law enforcement or administration of justice. Other courses helpful in preparing for a career in law enforcement include accounting, finance, electrical engineering, computer science, and foreign languages. Physical education and sports are helpful in developing the competitiveness, stamina, and agility needed for many law enforcement positions.
Knowledge of a foreign language is an asset in many Federal agencies and urban departments.
Continuing training helps police officers, detectives, and special agents improve their job performance. Through police department academies, regional centers for public safety employees established by the States, and Federal agency training centers, instructors provide annual training in self-defense tactics, firearms, use-of-force policies, sensitivity and communications skills, crowd-control techniques, relevant legal developments, and advances in law enforcement equipment. Many agencies pay all or part of the tuition for officers
to work toward degrees in criminal justice, police science, administration of justice, or public administration, and pay higher salaries to those who earn
such a degree.
Police and detectives held about 842,000 jobs in 2004. About 80 percent were employed by local governments. State police agencies employed about 12 percent, and various Federal agencies employed about 6 percent. A small proportion worked for educational services, rail transportation, and contract investigation and security services.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, police and detectives employed by local governments primarily worked in cities with more than 25,000 inhabitants. Some cities have very large police forces, while thousands of small communities employ fewer than 25 officers each.
The opportunity for public service through law enforcement work is attractive to many because the job is challenging and involves much personal responsibility. Furthermore, law enforcement officers in many agencies may retire with a pension after 25 or 30 years of service, allowing them to pursue a second career while still in their 40s or 50s. Because of relatively attractive
salaries and benefits, the number of qualified candidates exceeds the number of job openings in Federal law enforcement agencies and in most State police departments—resulting in increased hiring standards and selectivity by employers. Competition should remain keen for higher paying jobs with State and Federal agencies and police departments in more affluent areas. Opportunities will be better in local and special police departments, especially in departments that offer relatively low salaries, or in urban communities where the crime rate is relatively high. Applicants with college training in police science, military police experience, or both should have the best opportunities.
Employment of police and detectives is expected to grow about
services. However, employment growth will be hindered by reductions in Federal
hiring grants to local police departments and by expectations of low crime rates
by the general public.
The level of government spending determines the level of employment for police and detectives. The number of job opportunities, therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place. Layoffs, on the other hand, are rare because retirements enable most staffing cuts to be handled through attrition. Trained law enforcement officers who lose their jobs because of budget cuts
usually have little difficulty finding jobs with other agencies. The need to replace workers who retire, transfer to other occupations, or stop working for other reasons will be the source of many job openings.
Police and sheriff’s patrol officers had median annual earnings of $45,210 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $34,410 and $56,360. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,910, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $68,880. Median annual earnings were $44,750 in Federal Government, $48,980 in State government, and $45,010 in local government.
In May 2004, median annual earnings of police and detective supervisors were $64,430. The middle 50 percent earned between $49,370 and $80,510. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,690, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $96,950. Median annual earnings were $86,030 in Federal Government, $62,300 in State government, and $63,590 in local government.
In May 2004, median annual earnings of detectives and criminal investigators were $53,990. The middle 50 percent earned between $40,690 and $72,280. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,180, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $86,010. Median annual earnings were $75,700 in Federal Government, $46,670 in State government, and $49,650 in local government.
Federal law provides special salary rates to Federal employees who serve in law enforcement. Additionally, Federal special agents and inspectors receive law enforcement availability pay (LEAP)—equal to 25 percent of the agent’s grade and step—awarded because of the large amount of overtime that these agents are expected to work. For example, in 2005, FBI agents entered Federal service as GS-10 employees on the pay scale at a base salary of $42,548, yet they earned about $53,185 a year with availability pay. They could advance to the GS-13
grade level in field nonsupervisory assignments at a base salary of $64,478, which was worth $80,597 with availability pay. FBI supervisory, management, and executive positions in grades GS-14 and GS-15 paid a base salary of about $76,193 and $89,625 a year, respectively, which amounted to $95,241 or $112,031 per year including availability pay. Salaries were slightly higher in selected areas where the prevailing local pay level was higher. Because Federal agents
may be eligible for a special law enforcement benefits package, applicants should ask their recruiter for more information.
According to the International City-County Management Association’s annual Police and Fire Personnel, Salaries, and Expenditures Survey, average salaries for sworn full-time positions in 2004 were as follows:
|Minimum annual base salary||Maximum annual base salary|
Total earnings for local, State, and special police and detectives frequently exceed the stated salary because of payments for overtime, which can be significant. In addition to the common benefits—paid vacation, sick leave, and medical and life insurance—most police and sheriffs’ departments provide officers with special allowances for uniforms. Because police officers usually are covered by liberal pension plans, many retire at half-pay after 25 or 30
years of service.
Police and detectives maintain law and order, collect evidence and
information, and conduct investigations and surveillance. Workers in related
occupations include correctional
officers, private detectives
and investigators, and security
guards and gaming surveillance officers.
Sources of Additional Information
For general information about sheriffs and to learn more about the National
Sheriffs' Association scholarship, contact:
- National Sheriffs’ Association, 1450 Duke St., Alexandria, VA 22314.
Information about qualifications for employment as a FBI Special Agent is
available from the nearest State FBI office. The address and phone number are
listed in the local telephone directory. Internet:
Information on career opportunities, qualifications, and training for U.S.
Secret Service Special Agents is available from the Secret Service Personnel
Division at (202) 406-5800, (888) 813-8777, or (888) 813-USSS. Internet:
Information about qualifications for employment as a DEA Special Agent is
available from the nearest DEA office, or call (800) DEA-4288. Internet:
Information about career opportunities, qualifications, and training to
become a deputy marshal is available from:
- U.S. Marshals Service, Human Resources Division—Law Enforcement
Recruiting, Washington, DC 20530-1000. Internet:
For information on operations and career opportunities in the U.S. Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives operations, contact:
- U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Personnel
Division, 650 Massachusetts Ave. NW., Room 4100, Washington, DC 20226.
Information about careers in U.S. Customs and Border Protection is available
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW.,
Washington, DC 20229. Internet:
Information about law enforcement agencies within the Department of Homeland
Security is available from:
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC 20528. Internet:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook
Handbook, 2006-07 Edition,
Police and Detectives, on the Internet at
(visited April 06, 2006).
Friday, April 14, 2006
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT THE THREAT LEVEL?
Homeland Security Advisory System
Homeland Security Advisory Recommendations for Business
HOW DO I DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN?
Preparing Makes Business Sense
Plan to Stay in Business
Emergency Management Guide For Business & Industry
GET READY - BE PREPARED
“Open for Business” A Disaster Planning Tool Kit for the Small Business Owner
Business Continuity: A Practical Approach for Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management and Disaster Recovery
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT BIOTERRORISM?
Chemical Agents: Facts About Sheltering in Place
Guidance for Protecting Building Environments from Airborne Chemical, Biological or Radiological Attacks
Chemical Agents: Facts About Evacuation
Frequently Asked Questions about the Risks of Bioterrorism and Possible Defenses Against it
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUSPICIOUS PACKAGES?
FBI Advisory – Suspicious Packages
How to Recognize and Handle a Suspicious Package or Envelope
Guidance on Initial Responses to a Suspicious Letter/Container with a Potential Biological Threat
WHAT SHOULD I TELL MY EMPLOYEES AND FAMILY?
Personal Workplace Disaster Supplies Kit
Creating a Family Plan
Your Family Disaster Plan
At Work and School
Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness
Homeland Security Advisory Recommendation for Families
Helping Young People Deal With Terrorism and Other Tragic Events
Terrorism: Coping Strategies for Children and Adults
FEMA for Kids
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RADIOLOGICAL WEAPONS?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Dirty Bombs
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About a Radiation Emergency
Guidance for Protecting Building Environments from Airborne Chemical, Biological or Radiological Attacks
What We Learn About Radiation Threats from Movies—Fact or Fiction
Sheltering in Place during a Radiation Emergency
WHAT SHOULD I KNOW ABOUT CYBER SECURITY?
Cyber Security Tips
Top Ten Cyber Security Tips for Teens, Teachers and Families
How the FBI Investigates Computer Crime
Common Sense Guide for Cyber Security for Small Business
A Brief Introduction to Cyber Security for Business
HOW CAN I STAY INFORMED ON HOMELAND SECURITY ISSUES?
Homeland Security Institute
Disaster Resource Guide
Government Technology – Homeland Security
The Emergency Email and Wireless Network
HOW CAN I PROMOTE PREPAREDNESS IN MY COMMUNITY?
Community Emergency Response Teams
Curriculum for Community-based Pre-Disaster Mitigation
Citizens' Preparedness Guide
Volunteers in Police Service
Recognizing Terrorist Activity
Terrorism Awareness and Prevention
DO I NEED PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE DEVELOPING MY PLAN?
Preparing your Business for the Unthinkable
Every Business should have a Plan
Worksite Risk Assessment
Emergency Preparedness and Response
HOW CAN I REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY?
FBI Most Wanted: Photos and Submit a Tip
Submit a Terrorist Tip
Report threats and crimes to Customs
Report threats to public health
Report a threat involving a nuclear facility or radioactive materials
Police Technology, Prentice Hall, July 2005
Reviewer No. 1
Police technology is being spun out at a dizzying rate. What’s effective, what's Orwellian, what is cutting edge, What is pure fantasy?
Policing has always been information "intensive." And lately, it is increasingly technological, no matter what specialty you work; or niche of the business you inhabit. Too bad there isn’t a base course - or a basic text book - that lays out all this welter of police technology and ties it all together in an easily digestible comprehensive manner.
Ah, but there is. Police Technology, a primer on everything technological in policing is soon to be released by Pearson Prentice Hall. Studying its well laid out chapters chock full of details of the latest and greatest police technology, is sure to provide insight into the evolution, maturation and future implications of technology. This well-written book is truly a one-stop-shop technology overview; whether the student’s a basic Police recruit, a mid-level manager who now realizes he must be “up” on all this or become irrelevant, or a chief or sheriff who aspires to truly understand his or her agency’s technology plan and how to successfully manage it to reach important departmental and community goals.
Woven into a fascinating panoply of applications that make the law enforcement officer's job easier and his output more effective for the community he serves, are concise yet satisfying segments on Mobile Computer Systems, Computer Aided Dispatch, crime analysis and crime mapping. One can browse sections devoted to enhancing internal and external communications with technology, developing an automation plan, and institutionalizing technology change.
Concepts that are quite unfamiliar to most local police are laid out with crystal clarity: Pen Registries; Trap and Traces; the difference between Device Identifying Information and Call Content Information; Interception of Internet communications; Carnivore and Magic Lantern; the Patriot Act
For the techno-cop who revels in this type of reading, there are good portions of the book devoted to body wires and night vision devices, computer forensic examination, link analysis software, and the use of digital cameras to document crime scenes.
While some of these approaches are terribly captivating - such as futuristic use of electromagnetic pulses directed at an offender’s vehicle to slow his vehicle to 15mph so you can easily capture him - other segments look at personnel strategies that must be in place to direct and focus your new emphasis on technology development. For example, the book explains the process of Business Process Reengineering; that is, looking at your department’s organizational goals, processes, policies and technologies with an eye toward making these four factors work together better. Without this approach, misdirected and misunderstood acquisition of technology ends up not only cost agencies big bucks, but frustrating everyone involved in the process.
From your Vantage point, how many in your agency, regardless of their level of functioning, can explain concepts such as Passive Millimeter Wave Imaging (a way to detect weapons, plastic explosives, and other types of contraband), Facial Recognition Technology (pick a wanted bad guy’s face out of a sea of faces using surveillance cameras mounted in public places), Packet Switching (breaking down a message into very small units, individually addressing them and then routing them through a network) or the benefits to the officer on the beat of AVL (Automatic Vehicle Location)? This book simplifies these concepts and provides very clear explanations of terminology. In fact, at the end of every chapter is a list of “Key terms” encountered in the chapter. I you understand the terms, chances are you understood the concepts presented in the chapter.
For the not-so-computer-literate, on chapter clearly details the difference between a local area network and a wide area network, and fleshes out for the technological novice client-server architecture, intrusion detection and firewalls.
Important organizational issues addressed include the civilianization of work traditionally performed by uniformed officers, such as analyzing forensic evidence, and other technology related assignments that can be done just as well by non-sworn employees. Another discussion presents a less-than-rosy picture of technology implementation. What if department employees won’t or can’t use the technology? What if the managers or supervisors don’t know the technology and can’t effectively lead, train or supervise? How can law enforcement officers investigate technology related crimes without a basic knowledge of the technology? Where can agency managers find the talent necessary for technology development and implementation?
This book also takes a look at the bigger picture in terms of planting technology seeds in our agencies. The largest obstacle nationwide is fragmentation of local policing, creating many, many “technology islands.” Our agencies have different codes and terms, different radio frequencies, different and often incompatible equipment. With so many different agencies with different approaches, operating under different theories of policing and with varying budgetary resources, equipment and technology acquisition are completed on an agency by agency basis. This undermines interoperability and consistent maintenance of information in a database that everyone can access.
It is often said in literature written about innovations in police technology, that criminals are always five years ahead of law enforcement in implementing and using new technologies. Finally, a book aims to close this gap by educating our key leaders in dozens of technology applications which, if used in a web-planned way, can short-circuit this advantage criminals now seem to possess.
If day after tomorrow you were put in charge of development of new technologies in your agency, this would be the first “must read” you pick up. Not only will it help you to increase your familiarity with specific technologies and their best application in enforcement and in community policing, but it will also support you in convincing other key departmental players of the need to create a comprehensive agency-wide technology plan to manage change more effectively.
If there is one thing this book leaves the reader with, it is a sense of optimism that technology truly can play a key part in the movement for better police efficiency and greater crime control to protect our communities.
If you look at the table of contents, it’s hard to imagine that anything significant in police technology has been left out of this volume. From computer basics to wireless communications and network topologies, the book builds from the basic to the complex, but all is explained in easy-to-understand terms. Geographic information systems (GIS), communications dispatch centers, records management systems and specialized investigative software are covered in depth.
I truly have not discovered a book that this book would “compete against.” There are lots and lots of good books out on police technology, but most have a narrow focus. For example, I read and purchase a LOT of books on computer crime investigation and Internet investigation. While they, each in their own right, are very good and provide lots of precise information, none of them address what your book does. If one wants the “big picture” and an understanding of all the technologies that could be deployed, then your book is the ONLY one I could suggest.
Reviewer No. 2
The entire manuscript is a state-of-the-art treatment of police technologies, from the table of contents all the way though the individual chapters. Thus, the short answer to this question is, yes, the material depicted in the TOC is in fact coveted more than adequately in the individual chapters. It is an excellent and thorough overview of the broad field of law enforcement technologies, as well as a detailed exploration of how many of the technologies are actually used in the day-to -day operations of police agencies. Compelling examples are also offered to demonstrate what can happen when some of these technologies are not used.
In part, the manuscript is successful because the structure of the chapters is designed to clearly specify the learning objectives for each (e.g., understanding the use of public safety answering points) in advance, followed by very thorough treatments of each objective (in fact, most of the chapters are organized around the themes set out in the initial chapter objectives listings), and concluded with a recap-summary that reminds the reader why the material was presented in the first place. Beyond this, many of the later chapters on the use of individual technological systems (e.g., law enforcement internet usage) remind the reader of lessons that had been delivered previously in earlier chapters.
While on the face of it, this suggests redundancy, it is a redundancy that is extremely useful pedagogically because it forces the reader/student to recall materials from earlier chapters as a way of both reinforcing that new knowledge and understanding the new system that is being introduced. Thus, for example, the discussion of network spiders used to catalog search engines frequently takes the reader back to the earlier chapter on networking and the ways that data bases on particular servers are linked together on the internet, and how they can be searched using spider technologies. Then, this same information about spiders comes in handy when material is introduced later about law enforcement monitoring and surveillance of criminals using internet-based resources. Overall, my assessment is that this means there is good follow-through of the educational themes.
If there are weaknesses in this text (and I would argue there are very few) I would settle on only two. (Neither of these are terribly serious, and a counter-argument would probably conclude that these are actually strengths) One is associated with the emphasis on police technology, as compared to a broader emphasis on technologies within the entire criminal justice system. Now, to some extent, the manuscript touches on this occasionally by means of exploring law enforcement systems that are also used in other components of the American CJ system. As one example among many other possible ones, some of the general issues covered in Chapter 8 on the design and use of data bases could be applied to the corrections or judicial systems. However, given the attention to operating details of these technological systems at work within law enforcement, applying the same detail to other CJ elements would be prohibitive in terms of length and, possibly, the patience of the reader.
The matter or a reader’s patience takes me to the other minor criticism, which is related to the detail (which is, nearly inarguably, a strength of the manuscript as well). Some of the earlier chapters on the mechanics of computers, local area networks, other networks, and the like provide useful information, but some of the detail is a bit tedious. Later in the manuscript, a tedious Chapter 11 discussion of HTML versus XML hypertext programming really bogs down the flow of interesting ideas. In part, the author responds to this by using some of the basic information from early in the book (e.g., packet switching) to take the reader to technologies that can be used to track or monitor information (e.g. packet sniffers). It is not that the detail is not useful, but instead that there is an awful lot of detail in some of the more laborious explanations of programming, computers, and networking. It is possible that some judicious editing could shorten or eliminate some of this extreme detail.
The topics covered in this manuscript are explored in a balanced way. The lengths of chapters are fairly similar throughout the manuscript, and most all of them progress from general background on particular topics (e.g., the Internet) through more detailed explanations (e.g.. development of data warehousing resources by police agencies that can be accessed through secure Internet connections), and often into anecdotes or stories of applied settings that provide a setting in which various technologies or systems can be used appropriately. In my opinion, too, the scholarship appears sound. I am familiar with many of the sources cited, including some of my own publications. I traced the logic of several citations I was familiar with and found appropriate, interesting, and accurate interpretations of all but perhaps one of about a dozen or so thorough attempts to deconstruct the author’s empirical foundation and citation usage. Finally, as I have noted elsewhere in this review. my reading of the manuscript suggested the occasional of bit too much esoteric, technical detail regarding computer and network operations, but it is never “out of balance” with the overall presentation of material.
The material presented in the manuscript is absolutely current. There are systems mentioned in the manuscript that few researchers (or practitioners for that matter) have begun to consider (e.g., passive millimeter imaging discussion in chapter 21). Right now—at this moment as it goes to press - this is clearly a good thing! However, it suggests that in order to stay current and the author will have to be prepared to produce regular new additions, for at least two reasons.
First and most obviously, the technologies are changing and evolving as are their applications within criminal justice agencies. New editions will need to keep track of these changes and their impacts on technology usage and law enforcement impacts. Second, arid perhaps more importantly, the legal, policy, and procedural environments of these various technologies are also changing rapidly (e.g., the Kyllo decision on thermography handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court). Various of the most advanced technologies discussed in parts of this manuscript will also be affected by changes in the legal environment (e.g., some technologies like backscatter imagining are likely to be considered illegal searches under certain circumstances, but the courts have vet to define them), that will deserve (changing) treatment within the manuscript. Thus, practical and technical changes in the various systems discussed in the manuscript as well as evolving legal rulings will dictate future changes to be made in new editions. This is a key point in the sense that it is highly unlikely that a single first edition of this book will have a lengthy half-life due to the ongoing forces of innovation, changes in police procedures, and legal interpretations of the impacts of technological systems.
This book has no competition. In the first place, as noted above, I have been tracking law enforcement technology literature for six years, and this is the List hook-length manuscript that I have found that provides a comprehensive treatment of what is almost any account an extremely broad and deep field. There are miscellaneous journal articles here and there that touch on parts of some technologies detailed in the manuscript (e.g., mobile digital terminals, monitoring and surveillance technologies, non-lethal weaponry, etc.), but to the best of my knowledge this manuscript offers, hands-down, the most thorough, up-to-date, state-of-the-art coverage or current and emerging technologies in law enforcement. Ever were another book to emerge, it would be challenged to offer the same level of detail, readability, and comprehensiveness that this manuscript offers.
Reviewer No. 3
The material covered is adequate. A small number of significant topics have been omitted. Those are here noted. No superfluous material is included. The topics covered reflect appropriate emphasis and balance. The material (resources referenced) is both up-to-date and accurate. See annotated pages as indicated parenthetically. Not covered in the competition are several topics that are either cutting-edge (Chapter Twenty One does this very nicely), or are significant topics in law enforcement today. The latter are not necessarily subjects that come immediately to mind when one thinks about police technology. The way, in which these topics are integrated, reflects a very positive contribution to the literature. For example, Community Policing (pp. 30 — 39) is addressed in Chapter One as well as in the “Discussion Points” in Chapter Twenty One (pp. 787). This and its parallel philosophy, Problem-Oriented Policing (p. 34), are given appropriate attention. More in Chapter One would have been excessive given the theme of the text; less would have been superficial. Announcing the forthcoming eases studies (p. 30) very nicely reflects the author’s integration of these concepts with police technology.
Police Technology offers Key Terms, End Notes, and a Bibliography. Some or most of these useful features are absent in the texts I have here listed as competition. Some of the competition, including the “leading” competition suffers from a lack of current references. Police Technology has very current references in both the End Notes and the Bibliography. I believe this is essential, perhaps crucial, in a text about high technology. Whereas the competition has overly brief and/or excessively long chapters, Police Technology is very nicely balanced in this regard. Students will find this particularly desirable. Some of the topics that Police Technology treats separately are combined in other texts. This is distracting and confusing. Police Technology avoids this trap.
In summary, it is my opinion that there is no real competition for Police Technology. Police Technology is a well researched, well written, well-referenced, exceptionally clear and appropriate examples. Its author, while not yet well known, is a respected professional. If he continues to write, he will overcome the lack of notoriety in due course.
I would adopt this text because it is: (a) current (b) authored by a practitioner, (c) well written. (d) the examples are very clear and on-point; they will resonate with neophytes (preservice as well as short-term practitioners), as well as authoritative academics as well as experienced practitioners.
Reviewer No. 4
The manuscript lends itself to a Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice curriculum or would also be suitable for a staff/manager training course for senior law enforcement personnel. I would strongly recommend this txt as part of any public safety management course, and certainly require it as a primer for a typical criminal justice curriculum. The content is remarkably extensive. Topics covered do give appropriate emphasis and balance. The chapter exercises will prove valuable to students by providing a “hands-on” experience.
The text of this manuscript obviously reflects a great deal of research and insight into the combined areas of Information Technology and Law Enforcement Management of Technology. All areas listed in the table of contents were appropriately covered and the correlation of each respective technology to is place in the business practice of policing was well explained. The writer covered each area in full and with sufficient depth that the reader/student should not only understand each chapter, but also understand dhow the chapters tie together and how to use the described technology for practical police applications.
Download your copy here:
Friday, April 07, 2006
You can download a complete information package at Forensic Profiles.