Friday, April 27, 2007

Civilian Police Academy - Class 9, Part 1: Drugs

A rather mixed bag at class Tuesday -- and sorry I'm so late reporting, but I yanked a back muscle and computer time is limited. I'm also getting submissions ready for the agent and editor from SleuthFest

We started with a report from the head of the SID - Special Investigations, which handles about 98% of the undercover operations. It's divided into 2 groups. One's main focus is narcotics, and the other is the fugitive squad, which deals with the likes of 60,000 active warrants. They don't have a specifically designated Vice squad -- everyone works vice, and it's linked closely with the drug trade.

As with everything else, manpower is limited. This department does a lot of cooperative task force work; they consider task forces the most efficient way to get things done.

The next speaker was an undercover narcotics deputy, and he was, like everyone else, enthusiastic about his job. One major job quality--being able to talk your way out of anything. He also reported that violent crimes are almost always linked in some way to narcotics. Our fair county has the dubious distinction of having, overall, a much higher quality of drugs. When they get here, they haven't been cut as much and there are a lot of overdoses. Aren't we special. We're also a great place for money laundering.

And we learned that about 70% of all drugs coming from South America are consumed in the U.S. Oh, yes -- Orlando was also one of the first cities where Ecstasy hit the scene.

He went through all the categories of drugs, with examples, pictures (powerpoint, though -- no 8x10 color glossies with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one), as well as the amount needed to charge the suspect with trafficking. Intersetingly enough, there are times when the amount is higher at the state level than the federal, and in those cases, they're delighted to have the cases handled by the feds, which has much stricter penalties. Just like with everything else, catching the bad guys is not the same as getting them off the streets.

More later -- can't sit at the computer too long or my back stiffens up.

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