Exceptional physical surveillance starts with thoroughly planning, before beginning the surveillance. Officers should do extensive research on the subject, such as inquiring about family, friends, co-workers, personal habits, routines, etc.(Baker, 2009, p.239). Officers should also be familiar with the area they are conducting the surveillance, they should take a picture of the location and its surrounds, and officers should be aware of things that might obstruct there view such as fences, walls, cars, and know the comings and goings of the neighbors as well and hours of local businesses (Lyman, 2007, p.141). However, if the officers find that a fence could be blocking their view; preparations should be made to have a ladder available, to ensure there is no obstruction. Another part of good physical surveillance is known when and how to enter the premises when the time comes. Officers should have knowledge and training on how to break and window if necessary and the type of window rather it is glass or Plexiglas. When entering through the door officers should be familiar with each point of entry, know if there is a home security in place, if there is video surveillance which could be beneficial to the officers as well, and know whom all lives in the home as well as how often people come over to visit. Other thing officers should be on the lookout for if the subject or neighbors that might have pets, especially dogs because they could potentially blow the officers cover by barking. For the overall safety of all involved officers should map out multiple routes to and from the location and share this information with all officers involved, in case of the need of back up or emergency assistance(Lyman, 2007, p.141).
The operational briefing should begin by providing a rundown of the case to all team members on the operational team. Whether it is an execution of a search warrant, a drug sting, or surveillance each participant on the team should know and understand his/her role in the operation. The briefing should include a case summary, of the type of operation, the area of the surveillance, include a picture of the subject and possibly include pictures of those associated with the subject. Supervising officers should delegate assignments. Radio protocol should be confirmed and other departments of the agency (flight section, canine unit, and patrol unit) should be incorporated in the briefing as well. If a supervisor or team members are not completely prepared, it could be damaging to the operation, the team, and the agency. If anyone on the team has questions it should be addressed during the briefing to avoid any issues while on surveillance or working in the field throughout the investigation/operation. The supervisor needs to emphasize the importance of safety and that safety of the team or of the civilians should never be compromise (Baker, 2009, p.287).
All equipment, vehicles, and weapons being used should be inspected and in proper working conditions. Each agent/officer participating in the executions of a warrant, must be accustomed with the extent of the authorized search which should have been explained at the briefing or otherwise the officers/agents should have read the warrant beforehand and be aware of what property can be searched and seized (“Serving the Search Warrant, ” 2016). Officers can only search what is listed on the warrant, if the suspect home/car is not listed on the warrant then officers cannot search that particular property. And if asked the suspect or any residents of the home should be permitted to see and read and copy of the warrant.
The knock-and-announce or knock-notice rule requires officers to state their presence before entering a person’s home. Usually, officers must knock on the door, reveal their presence, and give the property owner a chance to open the door before entering. (Wilson v. Arkansas, 514 U.S. 927 (1995) (“Serving the Search Warrant, ” 2016). However, knock and announce is not required in the following situations:
• It endangers the lives of the officers or others
• Evidence maybe destroyed
• If they are in the pursuit of chasing a suspect
Officers that are conducting the search warrant needs to be respectful of the residents home and treat it with respect. If any damage is caused to windows or doors during the search a reasonable amount of effort and offer should be extended to the homeowner to repair the damage the officers may have caused. If the officers fail to be respectful during the search any or all evidence they obtain could be excluded from the case.
According to the text drug raids are one of the most life-threatening circumstances officers/agent may face. This could be during a routine traffic stop where the subject was not expecting to get pull over and feel threaten or during a well prepared investigation, just because the suspect does not want to go to jail or even because in some states they maybe on their third strike and know this will be a life sentence for them if they get caught, so they would prefer to take a chance and run or fight, to escape going to prison. Raids are difficulty for law enforcement officers because they can never be sure if the suspects are armed or if someone with the suspect is armed, they have to be careful if things go wrong, not to harm themselves or others that may have nothing to do with the raid. For raids to be successful, it is very important for officers to get control of the suspect or suspects immediately (Lyman, 2007, p.155-156). There are four units that work collectively to ensure the success of a raid:
1. Perimeter unit: are responsible for securing the area, keeping bystanders out and helping others evaluate if needed.
2. Assault unit: are responsible for going in the location first and detaining the suspect or suspects while officers proceed with the search of the premises.
3. Cover unit: this team enters right after the assault unit and is there to assist if things get out of control.
4. Search unit: is responsible for searching the property included on the warrant and should search thoroughly to ensure all evidence is collected and secured.
I don’t think I would make any improvements to the raid process. I would just try and make sure each officer is aware that their undivided attention is needed throughout the raid process. That distraction could be an opportunity for the suspect to escape or for a confrontation to occur. That all personal cell phones be left at the precinct or turned off. As long as the officers knew the importance of safety of themselves as well as others, I would let the lead officer have full control of the raid, because they should be in the best position to lead the team.