At one point or another in our lives we have wished to be someone else. For an undercover officer, being someone else is a job requirement. In order to “fit in” with the suspected criminals they are trying to apprehend, officers have to change the way they look and they way they talk; in other words, they have to pretend to be a different person. They are taking on the role of a lifetime, only if something goes wrong there is no director to yell, “Cut!” While reading about what being an undercover officer entails, there are a few questions that must be answered; 1) What attributes are required of an undercover officer, 2) Do you believe you would make a good undercover officer, why or why not, 3) Are there gender issues regarding an undercover officer, and what might they be, 4) Should undercover officers be armed, 5) Should undercover officers wear body mikes whenever they are undercover, 6) Should undercover officers be allowed to break minor laws to obtain the confidence of the targets, and finally,
7) How far should an undercover officer go, and what are five factors when considering this. Officers interested in undercover work should possess certain qualities such as; excellent reporting skills, proficient with a firearm, and they must have the ability to maintain calm and collected under stressful situations. At this point in my life I don’t feel that I would make a good undercover officer. My reporting skills are less than adequate, I have had no training with any type of firearm, and when I am put in a stressful situation, I have a tendency to blow my top. An officer’s gender should not be a factor when considering undercover work. Both sexes possess assets that can benefit the undercover unit, a beautiful women looking for a john, or a tattooed, six-foot-one “tough guy” with a knack for making people talk.
I don’t believe that an undercover officer should be allowed to be armed until they are able to infiltrate the suspected organization. With technologies changing constantly, wearing a body mike still would not be a good idea for an undercover officer. As many ways as there are to conceal microphones, criminals are just as aware. When a new person enters a criminal establishment, they are usually put through tests to see how they react. Undercover officers shouldn’t be allowed to break minor laws, a crime is a crime no matter who commits it. Undercover agents should only go as far as it takes to secure a conviction. (Orthman & Hess, 2013)
Orthman, C. H., & Hess, K. M. (2013). Criminal investigation. (10th ed., p. 212). Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
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