Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
involves people on the ground, typically
overseas, gathering information from
human sources; the National Clandestine
Service (NCS) is responsible for
coordination and de-confliction of
clandestine HUMINT operations across
the Intelligence Community

Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
involves intercepted signals from
communications and electronic emissions;
the National Security Agency (NSA) is
responsible for SIGINT collection and

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)
information gathered from non-classified,
non-secret sources including news media,
the Internet and commercial databases to
name a few; the Open Source Center
(OSC) in the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence (ODNI) and the
National Air and Space Intelligence Center
(NASIC) are the major collectors of open-
source intelligence

Measurement and Signature
– involves a highly technical,
multi-disciplinary approach to intelligence
collection to provide detailed
characteristics of targets including radar
signatures of aircraft and telemetry of
missiles; the Directorate for MASINT and
Technical Collection (DT) at the Defense
Intelligence Agency (DIA) is responsible

Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)
involves the collection of information
related to the earth from imagery,
imagery intelligence, and geospatial
information; the National Geospatial
Agency (NGA) is responsible for
geospatial intelligence collection

Imagery Intelligence (IMINT)
involves representation of objects
reproduced by optically or by electronic
means from a variety of sources including
radar, infrared sources and electro-
optics; the National Geospatial-
Intelligence Agency (NGA) is responsible
for all imagery intelligence collection
Intelligence collection entails the science
and art of gathering information from
different sources and means known as
the intelligence collection disciplines.  
Descriptions of these disciplines shown
here are provided by
Henley-Putnam University
As a police officer, you're going to be
collecting intelligence on a continuous
basis.  When you interview victims and
witnesses, interrogate suspects or
develop informants, you'll be collecting
intelligence.  When you write and submit
a crime report, you'll be documenting
intelligence.  I use the word continuous
versus continual, because every
observation you make while patrolling or
visiting the donut shop will be an exercise
in intelligence collection.  Even when
you're off-duty, your mind will stay in the
police mode as you continuously process
your observations.

Of course, intelligence collection can be a
lot more sophisticated than I've just
described.  While your primary mission of
documenting crime and catching criminals
produces a lot of information, the
intelligence value of that information is
dependent upon your department's
means to collect, categorize, analyze, and
share relevant information.
"The sophistication of a police
department's criminal intelligence
effort will depend, as with all things,
on the quality of the department's
leadership and its local political
support." ~ Barry M. Baker
The collection of criminal intelligence has
been around for a long time.  Every police
department has a Criminal Intel Unit.  The
number of police officers assigned to a
department's Criminal Intelligence Unit
depends upon the size of the department
and the volume of criminal activity.  Prior
to 911, the drug trade and other crimes
associated with drug distribution
dominated the missions of criminal intel

While terrorism was always on the list of
things to watch for in the criminal intel
units, 911 moved terrorism to the top of
that list.  Police departments across the
country have taken the treat of terrorism
seriously and now areas low in crime, but
rich in strategic or soft targets for
terrorists, have become a primary focus
for criminal intelligence units.

The sophistication of a police
department's criminal intelligence effort
will depend, as with all things, on the
quality of the department's leadership
and its local political support.  If you've
read my site in any depth, you know how
much I disdain the way many police
departments put political and personal
relationships ahead of qualifications for
assignments to areas of specialization.  
Criminal intelligence is not immune to this
subtle form of corruption.

As you begin your police career, you
must put your pursuit of qualifications
ahead of all other considerations.  
However, you need to remain cognizant
of the need to develop political and
personal relationships along the way to
enhance your ability to utilize your
ongoing acquired qualifications.  
Remember this if nothing else, all of the
qualification you acquire through
education and experience will be
permanent while those P&P relationships
can literally disappear overnight.       

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