When working undercover, law enforcement officers often dress in an unrecognizable manner. They cannot wear ripped jeans and beat-up shoes. Their hands are immaculately manicured and don’t have calluses or bruises from wrenching. These officers are dressed to work.

Notification of undercover operation

When the police need to monitor drug dealers or suspects, they can use covert methods, such as wearing undercover clothes. These methods are often used in response to intelligence that indicates a crime is taking place. While this tactic has been used for many years, police departments have been reluctant to use it internally. However, some agencies have become more comfortable with this technique and have implemented it routinely.

To conduct an effective undercover investigation, the investigator must first determine the scope of the operation. It must be consistent with agency policy and any relevant laws. The investigator must also consider the necessary resources for the process, such as personnel, equipment, and time. In addition to evaluating the required resources, they must also prepare a risk assessment for the operation.

Allowing undercover agents to work undercover

Allowing undercover agents to work secret poses several challenges for law enforcement agencies. First, the process is complicated and potentially dangerous. The agents who work undercover are exposed to threats from their targets, and their actions can have far-reaching consequences. For example, FBI special agent Joe Pistone spent seven years infiltrating the American mafia under the alias “Donnie Brasco.” Today, he fears mafia reprisals—undercover agents who break into an organized crime group risk the same fate.

While undercover agents work undercover, they are still under the authority of their superiors. If a terrorist attack occurs, a confidential employee may use reasonable self-defense measures to protect themselves. But they must also report the incident to the FBIHQ and the Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Division.

The Criminal Undercover Operations Review Committee reviews undercover operations at FBIHQ. If a covert operation is deemed sensitive, it must be reviewed by the Section Chief, White-Collar Crimes Division, FBIHQ. The Section Chief has a national perspective on these matters. As part of the Undercover Review Committee, the Section Chief must determine whether a particular undercover operation is appropriate and legal. Additionally, specific circumstances, such as bribe payments or controlled drug deliveries, must be thoroughly reviewed.

The FBIHQ must also alert the relevant Federal prosecutor and the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division. Undercover operations can also be approved orally if the SAC finds justification for the covert operation.


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