The Role Of Undercover Agent For The Oklahoma Department Of Wildlife Conservation

Three years ago, in June 1968, our Chief of Law Enforcement and I went to the State of Pennsylvania, to see what we could learn about their Special Investigation work. We visited with the Pennsylvania Wildlife heads for three days and were sold on the type of work or ways of apprehending large scale, illegal, killing and selling of game. They pointed out to us the most important points to consider; administration of program by experienced personnel, the selection of competent personnel for undercover agents, never use one of your agents for any type of personnel investigation. Your agents are solely to collect evidence and information of game law crimes (in most cases, impossible through routine law enforcement). We realized that we were faced with an ever increasing law enforcement problem involving large scale, illegal killing and selling of game. We further realized our routine law enforcement practice, was not accomplishing any appreciable results, in apprehending these highly skilled, wildlife criminals. In the modern world of today, our ever increasing population, the increasing demand for outdoor recreation, the depletion of our recreational acres, the time is here . . . the time is now . . . when we must do everything within our power to implement whatever methods are necessary to insure rightful protection for all of our wildlife resources. Never before in the history, has our wildlife resources meant so much to so many, economically and spiritually. We had better prepare accordingly to insure that future. The use of undercover agents in conservation law enforcement is perhaps relatively new to most of our State Conservation Departments, but law enforcement in general, has utilized undercover investigations as an ethical and accepted tool, across the nation, for many, many years. The security of our free world has, at one time or another, rested, at least to some degree, on information obtained by undercover operations. The request for undercover investigations originates in the field. They, in turn, submit a report to our executive office, listing available information. Then, it is reviewed and approved for special investigation. All information is kept under lock and key. Only the Chief of Law Enforcement and our special force have access to this information. We were fortunate to have worked with Jerry Kirkpatrick, Chief of Special Investigation for the State of Pennsylvania, instruct and get our agents started. In August 1968, we organized our Special Investigation Forces, closely copied the State of Pennsylvania.

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