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Intelligence Collection Essay

Collecting intelligence is of vital importance to the deterrence of criminal behavior and the enforcement of the rule of law. In order to collect the right pieces of information, then the right person must be selected and targeted. Intelligence collection is crucial to the effective policing of people and communities and serves to protect the law of the land, the ethical agreements made between people. In an effort to save time, energy, and money as well as to thoughtfully gather information which can be of great importance to police systems, it is essential that the targeted individuals are the correct ones.

It makes no sense to the advancement of modern intelligence to waste time and energy focusing on the wrong areas (McConnell, 2007). In order to best serve the people and best protect the system of law, it is essential that police personnel are trained and ready to serve the public to the best of their ability. Their efforts must include smart and informed decision making in selecting their data collection targets. The rationale behind tracking possible criminals is to deter any type of harm or destruction from being acted upon the general public.

Although many people have a sarcastic or paranoid reaction to the idea of someone spying on another person, it is vital to track potential criminals in order to preserve the peace and defend innocent people. It is important to the public to have an assured and trusting understanding of the work involved in policing potentially or actually criminal individuals. Spying on certain people or groups is essential to the protection of each member of society, as well informed people are able to defend themselves well and prevent risk and catastrophe before it occurs.

When a person thinks about spying, the collection of information does not have to be an invasive or harmful experience for anyone. It is true that sometimes police officers have to lie or keep secrets from their targets in order remain anonymous and forge fake trust in order to obtain useful data, however, selecting the lesser of two evils or reconsidering of the police officers actions as ethical is necessary. Perhaps there are times when not telling the whole truth and even telling lies is vital to the greater protection of citizens.

In the beginning of a case, when targets are first being selected for data collection, it is essential to first know as much about the situation at hand as possible. It is important to know the scale of the criminal activity, how many people, groups, or countries are involved. The type and level of criminal activity should be assessed, the relative potential for violence and the amount of known harm currently being inflicted upon society. Collecting as much information as possible before beginning the spy work can aid in the prevention of mistakes later in a case.

One of the worst things that can happen is that police are working hard, every day, in the wrong direction. This waste of time, energy, and money, even life, can be prevented by making informed decisions rather than rash ones, by knowing as much as possible about the ring of crime as one possibly can. Having a good initial overview of the situation at hand can prevent mistakes, protect lives, and save a lot of resources. Selecting the best possible target for data collection is as important as selecting the best possible police officer.

When a good spy can be matched to a good target, the lines of communication open in favor of the general public, and gathered information can be used to prevent the occurrence of crime and sustain the common ethics within a community (Ronczkowski, 2006). A testament to a good police officer is that the officer does know how, when, what, where, and why a person must be tracked. The evidence and information collected by the appropriate spy makes sense to the entire case and adds fuel to the public’s ability to apply pressure on criminals and deter criminal behavior.

True security measures being in place means that the officers who are investigating potential criminals are on the right track. The best kind of a target is one who fits the possibility of being highly involved in the criminal activity which is already known. For example, if a drug dealer is known to be selling cocaine to children in urban New Orleans, then it is essential to track this dealer and to figure out from whom he may be purchasing these drugs.

When there is sufficient evidence that the dealer has relations with a particular person on a regular basis, pointing to some kind of a business relationship, then it is vital to move forward in tracking this new target with elegance and sophistication. Targets should never know that they are being tracked. If less information is known or the source of information is sketchy, then it is good to go back to the general overview. Begin with targets which make sense, follow up with sources which seem to hold some validity, and then work from there. Collecting the right information is certainly linked to choosing the right target.

There is a never ending array of information which can be collected, however, there is a narrow and purposeful amount of correct information (McCue, 2006). Gathering the correct data is essential to solving crimes, and monitoring the right individuals and groups is vital to knowing the details of what is happening in a community. If a source seems weak or a target not sufficiently connected to criminal behavior, then it is time for the spy to move onto other areas. Feeling out people and situations is not always easy, but many times a new thread will surface which leads into deeper waters.

Making smart and purposeful decisions, such as, from the previous example, monitoring all urban New Orleans schools for other possible drug activity or observing the bar scene where the one cocaine dealer spends his Saturday nights, may turn up new evidence or leads in a case which has stagnated. Moving too far away from a lead or a source is not good. Checking for criminal behavior is a separate locale or a remote group of people simply makes no sense when tracking criminal activity. It is good to stay close to the criminal environment and to network within the groups of people from which sources have given leads.

Delivering the right information to the authorities is the foundation for working intelligence collection. In order to have a clear picture of the criminal activity in a community, then smart police officers need to present appropriate data to the public authorities. The delivery of the right kind of information is what builds up the level of intelligence of a community, and then police are able to best serve and protect the citizens of the community by effectively applying the force of law. When the right people are privy to the right kind of information, then this data becomes a basis for preserving the peace and harmony of public life.

It is a bit sad and disheartening to know that spying is essential for the protection of humanity, however, it is good to know that one must be careful and smart in making informed decisions and life choices. Making the wrong ones could result in being removed from society for the protection of the peaceful members of society. It is not always easy to know how to come across the right kind of information regarding potential or actual criminal activity, however, selecting the right targets is a huge part of smart data collection. By relying of reasonable sources and following strong leads, the police can move in the best directions.

Spying is not always the easiest job and not always the most respected work, however, performing it well can ensure public safety and protect human life. When running across opposition to policing or hearing the frustration which people have in regard to intelligence collection, it is always good to focus on the primary ethical foundation of spy work, the sanctity and importance of human life. When police officers make this their goal and mantra, then it is difficult to become lazy or careless. Having pride in police work and conducting it well is what keeps criminals from inflicting pain on society.

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