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.
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
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
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
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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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.”
working cases, officers often work overtime scouting the
countryside as part of the federally supported "Cash Crop
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.
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.
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.
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.
of Lincoln Police Department
Chief Richard Ludolph
County Sheriff’s Department
Sheriff Tony Solomon
address as above
Mayor Joan Ritter