skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 210164 Find in a Library
Title: Brief History of Law Enforcement Intelligence: Past Practice and Recommendations for Change
Journal: Trends in Organized Crime  Volume:8  Issue:3  Dated:Spring 2005  Pages:51-62
Author(s): David L. Carter
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 12
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After a review of the history of law enforcement intelligence in the United States from the 1920s to post-September 11th, this article draws lessons for what should and should not be done in intelligence operations.
Abstract: The review encompasses law enforcement intelligence at the Federal, State, local, and tribal levels. One lesson drawn from the history of intelligence practices in the United States is that the building of intelligence dossiers on individuals that contain raw, diverse information unrelated to unlawful activities has a negative impact on the constitutional right of freedom of speech and assembly without law enforcement intervention. Targeting individuals for intelligence operations without lawful justification can result in civil rights suits and vicarious liability lawsuits against law enforcement agencies. Another lesson is that to be effective, intelligence units must be proactive, developing unique products and disseminating the products to appropriate personnel consistently and comprehensively. Also, a clear distinction must be made between law enforcement intelligence and national security intelligence. Further, a full-time law enforcement intelligence function should be organized professionally and staffed with personnel who are trained in analysis and intelligence product preparation. Other lessons are that there must be clear lines of communication between the intelligence unit and policymakers and decisionmakers; law enforcement intelligence units must be evaluated regularly to ensure their effectiveness and compliance with policy and law; and intelligence work and interagency intelligence sharing has assumed critical importance since September 11th, when the United States was attacked from within by a clandestine cadre of terrorists acting as part of an international network of terrorists with an ongoing commitment to harm the United States and its citizens throughout the world through secret cells that plan and execute terrorist acts. 9 notes and 16 references
Main Term(s): Police intelligence operations
Index Term(s): Counter-terrorism intelligence; Intelligence acquisition; Intelligence analysis; Organized crime intelligence; Police legal limitations
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.