A day in the life of an undercover drug agent

[SEPT. 9, 2000]  The lifestyle of an undercover agent takes them into the path of danger, excitement and meeting a great diversity of people.

What would it be like to have an important, challenging job where you couldn’t tell anyone what you did for a living?  You would have to really believe in what you did and have an above-average resolve to always hold on to your own identity.  The officer interviewed for this article has all that.  For obvious reasons we can’t reveal his name.  We can only say that he and his work are important to our community.


The agent works behind the scenes under auspices of the Central Illinois Enforcement Group, commonly known as the Drug Task Force.  Only last month it was his concerted efforts with the assistance of other agents that led to warrants being issued for the arrests of four individuals.  The Lincoln City Police and Logan County Sheriff’s departments then made a sweep of criminal drug arrests for “possession with intent to deliver.”

It took him eight months to gather enough evidence for warrants to be issued.  While time consuming, this means of arrest by warrant provides the most solid means of getting a conviction against persons involved in this type of criminal activity.

Most of the agent’s time is spent working cases in Lincoln and Logan County.  It starts with a lead.  He builds sources and sets up surveillance of drug houses.  “We may bring an officer from another area and introduce him in,” he says.  “We work with Jacksonville, Springfield, and other areas; sometimes we might bring a guy down from Chicago.”  The goal in each case is to build probable cause in order to get warrants.  “We follow the law,” he emphasized. “We want to build strong cases.”


Keeping the undercover agents’ identity unknown in covert operations is no less than challenging.  It also adds an element of risk to the job.  There’s the "somebody might know you" problem: “people knowing people you grew up with,” the task force agent says.  Then there’s the "remember who you’re supposed to be" issue. “We’re part-time bad guys,” he stresses. “I have to remember I’m not a cop when I’m out undercover and not react like one, especially when I see things I normally wouldn’t find acceptable.”  “You have to remember who you are and who you are supposed to be including when you go home at night. I have to remember to check the attitude at the door or I catch myself talking like I don’t really talk, using bad language or having a bad attitude,” he explains.


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Not only is the job challenging from the above perspective, but the hours are demanding as well.  Because as the agent explains, “I may be called out to work other counties, then I’ll also have to go there and testify in court. I’ll often put in 12-16-hour days.”

Beyond working cases, officers often work overtime scouting the countryside as part of the federally supported "Cash Crop Program."  This activity offers an opportunity for officers who normally work independently to intermingle a bit. “It’s a neat experience to work with the guys,” he exclaims. They look for fields of marijuana and either burn them on site or if close enough, take it to be burned at the state burn pit in Pawnee.  This is one of the proactive methods of dealing with drug control. 

In addition to drug stings, it has proven effective for the task force to provide services in other areas of law enforcement.  Due to the nature of their covert operations they are quite often privy to information needed to prosecute other crimes.  Undercover surveillance and covert operations often lend additional support for investigating burglaries and other crimes, but mostly the task force deals with drugs.

So, with no public credit for public duty, unpleasant and often dangerous situations, and long hours, where’s the glory that keeps this guy going?  Our local agent grew up in a small town with the strength of community and a clear sense of right and wrong, especially when it comes to drugs.  In speaking with him, it became apparent that those deeply ingrained values carry him in what he does today.

 If you haven’t thought about the people who are behind the scenes in our local law enforcement and you appreciate what this agent and our local law enforcement agencies are doing, take a moment to write a few letters.

City of Lincoln Police Department

Attention: Chief Richard Ludolph

911 Pekin St.

Lincoln, IL 62656


Logan County Sheriff’s Department

Attention: Sheriff Tony Solomon

Same address as above


Lincoln City Council

Attention: Mayor Joan Ritter

City Hall

Lincoln, IL 62656


Logan County Board


Lincoln, IL 62656


Boeke named director
of Living Alternatives

[SEPT. 5, 2000]  Living Alternatives, a pregnancy counseling center located at 5 Arcade Building in Lincoln, has hired Jennifer Boeke to fill the part-time position of managing director. Boeke has been a volunteer at the center for eight months and was trained as a counselor at the Rockford Area Pregnancy Care Center, a similar organization.

Living Alternatives is affiliated with the World Harvest Church in Springfield, which has 13 similar ministries in Illinois and Indiana. The goals for these organizations are to help women have complete information about all the options available to them in a crisis pregnancy. The center gives women information on abstinence if the pregnancy test is negative. If the test is positive, the choices are carrying to term and keeping the child, making an adoption plan, or abortion. The center does not give abortion referrals or provide contraceptives.


[Boeke created this illustration of a mother and child for use in her Morning Glory Art business, which provides Christian art for use by nonprofit ministries.]

If a woman decides to carry the child to term, the center helps her get medical assistance and, if desired, helps her tell her family about the pregnancy. Clothing and other supplies may also be provided. The center can also refer women to an adoption lawyer. To make an appointment with Living Alternatives, call 735-4838.


Boeke and her husband, Henry, moved to Lincoln last August from Rockford, relocating their business, Morning Glory Art, which they established 17 years ago. Together the couple create, publish and market Christian art for use by nonprofit ministries to help raise funds for and awareness of the goals of these ministries. Her artwork has been used by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, Focus on the family, T.E.A.M. ministries, InterVarsity Magazine and many other ministries.


Boeke said she discovered the Bible 17 years ago and wanted to speak to people about Christ through her art. "I believe adding an illustration to biblical texts can provide another dimension of understanding of Christian living," she said. Previously she had done commercial art work and illustration.


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The Boekes have two sons: Michael, 22, of Rockford, and Cooper, 20, in the U.S. Air Force.

Boeke said she hesitated before taking the position with Living Alternatives because she wanted to be sure she could continue her art work and also do a good job of managing the center. "I finally felt this position was a calling from the Lord," Boeke said. "After a lot of thought and more prayer, we decided it was God’s timing to try."


Boeke said her goals for the center are to continue to provide an outlet for pregnancy testing and evangelism; to improve communication with counselors, volunteers and donors; to provide more outreach to countywide churches and schools; and to raise the visibility of the organization in the community as a whole. She hopes to have the center staffed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

She said she welcomes suggestions about effective ways to reach out to the women and children who may need the organization’s services.


As a fund-raiser for Living Alternatives, there will be a "Rock for Life" during the Railsplitting Festival. The fund-raiser will be Saturday, Sept. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Antiques Pavilion at the Logan County Fairgrounds.

A group of teams of up to 10 persons from 10 area churches will rock without stopping for seven hours. Each team will have solicited donations, with the goal that every rocker will find 10 sponsors. Displays, snacks, candy and music will be on hand throughout the Rock for Life.

[Joan Crabb]

2201 Woodlawn Rd. in Lincoln
1-888-455-4641 or 735-5400
Ask for Terry Lock or Sharon Awe

Ask about our 7% APY CD
7 mos. - $5,000 minimum

Claire's Needleworks
and Frame Shop
"We Frame It All"
On the square
in downtown Lincoln
M-F 10-5  Sat 10-4

Meador Investigations

IL License # 115-001499

Click here to visit your local Private Investigator

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