Imagine, you’re out in the field doing surveillance on that big case. As you are watching you see an unknown car arrive, your fugitive walks out of the house and get into the car and they drive away. Your adrenaline kicks in. You’re quickly trying to figure out what your next tactical move will be? Do you follow the fugitive? Do you sit tight and wait for him to return? There is no single definitive answer as each scenario has it’s own influential details. However, there are a few tactical tips we can share that have and continue to work well for us in the field.
Mindset and Patience
When I’m out working a case I mentally prepare myself ahead of time so that I can remain extremely patient and agile. I’ve seen a lot of people get away from other pursuing agents and police as a result of compromised tactics and unnecessary risks. Making the best tactical decisions require patience and observation, which will in turn increase success factors of the apprehension as well as minimize legal and physical risks to all involved. Patience is one of a few “master keys” to the trade. If you’re not able to exercise patience and perseverance, then you can bet you’ll make a few mistakes that will probably result with fugitives evading you or worse, you could get hurt.
Learn the habits of your fugitives. There are quite a few ways you can do this. If you know what your fugitive is driving, put a GPS tracker on their vehicle (make sure you do not break any local or federal laws by putting a GPS tracker on a vehicle). If your fugitive doesn’t have a vehicle, then put the tracker on their girl friends car. You’ll be able to trace the movement of the GPS device and identify patterns or locations.
Social media is another great space for using the Internet to track your fugitives. Monitor their status and activity online at MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. Use a dummy account to carefully engage or pretext your subjects. I’ve been very successful at using social media as a resource in the location and apprehension of some of the most dangerous and evasive fugitives.
Tactical advantage is extremely important in this job. Do your planning! The first thing I like to do is get together with my team and quickly discuss the case details, double checking warrants, leads, surveillance, etc. The best tactical advantage comes when you have gained your fugitives trust, or have the ability to direct his or her movements. When you’re about to descend onto your fugitive and make the arrest, try to have it go down in a place where there are limited or controlled entry and exit points. Minimize risks and exposure to public citizens and civilians. Have backup in position ahead of time, and make sure they’re being patient! Think safety and control.
Dress the part and stay in character. Don’t show up to meet your fugitive looking like an officer or tactical ninja. An agent’s ability to blend with the environment is what makes him invisible to your fugitive’s threat detectors. You’ll master this skill to get close to your most evasive subjects before taking them down.
It’s also good insurance to your tactical advantage to inform law enforcement in the area of your activities too. It’s not cool to have the cops expose your presence to the fugitive because you were noticed by an alert neighborhood watch patrol.
Happy hunting and be safe!