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

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 Intelligence
– 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 for MASINT

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 units.

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

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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