Formalizing the Intelligence Function

Most police departments and sheriff’s offices in the United States do not have a formalized intelligence unit. Indeed, the majority of police departments in America only have patrol officers or one or two detectives. Yet even these small agencies can play an integral role in the intelligence function. This discussion question affords you the opportunity to select a course of action from two scenarios:

Formalizing Intelligence with an Agency: You are the Chief of a police department with 200 sworn officers and 97 non-sworn employees. Your agency has a full functioning tactical team, dive team, crash team, and numerous squads in the Detective Bureau. You have a specialized division comprised of Vice, Narcotics, Street Drugs, and the Special Surveillance Group. Uniformed Operations comprises the largest Bureau in the department. Until now, you have worked with the local FBI office’s Field Intelligence Group (FIG) but have not seen the need to create your own intelligence unit. Recently, however, you have determined that the intelligence process needs to be formalized in your agency. Discuss how you would create and implement such a unit in this agency. Discuss other factors you would need to consider, such as who would lead it, and who would staff the unit? What resources would you give this unit and what authorities and goals would it have?

Using a Fusion Center: You are a Lieutenant in a sheriff’s office with 21 other deputies. Your office handles the courts, prisoner transportation, and serving civil papers. Your office also completely handles the law enforcement responsibilities in the county. You know that intelligence gathering and sharing is a necessity for Twenty-first Century law enforcement, yet you don’t have the resources to staff an intelligence unit within the department. You heard through another Sheriff’s office about the Fusion Center concept. You decide to look into this further. Please share with your classmates what you learned and the potential applicability this concept would have in this sheriff’s office.

Respond to one of these scenarios

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