Investigation of drug crimes is very different from traditional criminal investigations. This is because drug investigations are generally covert and the objective is to identify conspirators in an ongoing criminal enterprise. Unlike traditional criminal investigations which begin when a specific crime is committed, drug investigations usually target ongoing criminal activity.
Management and supervision of drug investigation units is particularly difficult because of the nature of drug investigations. Contrary to the traditional investigator, drug investigators are expected to adopt an appearance and behavior patterns that allow them to blend in to the drug culture. This is a necessary component of covert investigations. Successful drug investigators also develop a keen sense of the drug subculture and are heavily involved in confidential informant work. All of these components present an increased risk level to the individual investigator, the unit and the agency.
Understanding all of the aforementioned aspects of drug investigation, it is evident that management of drug investigators, and units that are dedicated to drug investigation, presents numerous challenges to management. The primary challenge is how to direct the unit to achieve the agency’s investigative objectives as efficiently as possible.
This problem was a component of the study which is the subject of the assigned reading for this week. In the study conducted by Schuldt and Kendall (1993), their primary objective was to determine if an investigative Decision Support System (DSS) would be more effective if it was decentralized or centralized within the agency. Please consider the above information along with what you have learned in the course, read the article and answer the following:
1. What was the primary objective of the Nebraska State Police Investigative Services Division during the study documented in the article? Do you think that this is a legitimate primary objective for a drug investigative unit? Why or why not?
2. During the study two Decision Support Systems: centralized and decentralized. Provide the following information about both systems:
3. Where are the decisions made using this system?
4. What are the three advantages of this system?
5. Based on the above information and your knowledge about conducting drug investigations, which system would you argue for (which one would be best for your drug unit? Why is this system the best?
Schuldt, B., & Kendall, K. (1993). Case progression decision support system improves drug and criminal investigator effectiveness. Omega International Journal of Management Science, 21(3), 319-328.